Ultra-Orthodox Jews clash with Israeli police in Jaffa

Image caption,
Protesters say the construction is disturbing Jewish grave sites

At least 15 people have been wounded as Israeli police clashed with hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jewish protesters at a construction site south of Tel Aviv.

The police tried to disperse the crowd and made 15 arrests after demonstrators threw stones and bottles at them.

Protesters have been staging regular demonstrations in recent weeks against an excavation in Jaffa that they say is disturbing Jewish graves.

They regard the disturbing of Jewish remains as sacrilege.

The ultra-Orthodox community has been attempting to halt the construction of a hotel in an upscale neighbourhood.

Wednesday's protest turned violent when protesters stormed a fence on the construction site and tried to tear it down, local reports said.

Baton-wielding police and officers on horseback then charged the protesters to disperse them. They responded by hurling stones at police and setting fire to dustbins.

Five police officers and 10 men were injured in the clashes.

"The protesters were dispersed and put on buses and taken back to Jerusalem," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP news agency.

Ultra-Orthodox groups frequently protest at construction sites that they claim will desecrate religious burial sites.

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