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Israel religious rioting enters fifth day

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ACRE, Israel, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- Sporadic rioting hit the northern Israeli city of Acre for a fifth day Sunday despite a massive police presence, officials said.

With 700 police in place, religious clashes were diminishing as leaders of the city's Arab community agreed to issue a statement condemning the acts of a Muslim cab driver that incited the riots, The Jerusalem Post reported Sunday.

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Knesset Member Abbas Zakour said Acre's Arab leadership met Saturday and discussed ways to avoid similar violence in the future, while Israel's national leaders condemned the religious intolerance that led to the violence. Officials say the riots were sparked when a Muslim cab driver drove his vehicle into a observant Jewish neighborhood where cars were banned for the holy day of Yom Kippur.

"Even if conflicts may take place and often takes place between residents of any mixed town, the need for mutual respect and mutual tolerance between Jewish and Arab residents in the State of Israel is an issue constantly on my mind," Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday at a Cabinet meeting.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak declared Acre's annual civic festival should be held as scheduled, saying rioters shouldn't be allowed to harm the city's "fabric of life," Ynetnews.com reported.

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