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Israel: protests might end in bloodshed, warns security minister

People gather to stage a demonstration against Israeli government's handling of coronavirus pandemic and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's indictment on corruption charges in Western Jerusalem on 21 July 2020. [Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency]
People gather to stage a demonstration against Israeli government's handling of coronavirus pandemic and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's indictment on corruption charges in Western Jerusalem on 21 July 2020. [Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency]

Israel’s Public Security Minister, Amir Ohana, warned on Sunday that violent clashes at demonstrations spreading across the country are likely to end in bloodshed, local media have reported.

“There is a feeling and high probability that it will end in bloodshed,” Ohana told public broadcaster Kan. “I am really worried by the hate in the air.”

His comments came just one day after thousands of Israelis took part in demonstrations calling for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign over his mishandling of the coronavirus crisis as well as his corruption cases.

According to the security minister, the demonstrations are part of a trend of “incitement” against Netanyahu. He warned that it might end in a way worse than the assassination of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995.

Pro-Netanyahu Israelis have attacked demonstrators on several occasions, aiming pepper spray at their faces. On one protest on Saturday in the south of the country, a man in his twenties stabbed a protester in the neck. Several people have been arrested, say police.

Other Israeli officials, reported Anadolu, have also condemned the harsh treatment of the protesters, including Netanyahu’s partner in the government, Defence Minister Benny Gantz.

READ: Israel anti-government campaigners threaten to legally protest police use of water cannons 

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