JERUSALEM  - Hundreds of Israeli Arabs protested on Saturday across the north of the country against a provocative anti-Islam film that sparked violent demonstrations in the Muslim world, police said. Another 150 Palestinians demonstrated in mainly Arab east Jerusalem, where they tried to march to a US consulate building. "The people involved attempted to make their way toward the American consulate," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP. "Israeli police quickly arrived on the scene and dispersed everyone. The organiser was arrested."

A police spokeswoman said that about 100 people demonstrated peacefully in Nazareth, Israel's largest Arab city, and around 250 protested in other towns, villages and at road junctions.

Israeli news website Y-net said the rallies were called by the country's Islamic Movement and that marchers chanted "With our blood and with our spirit we will sacrifice for you, Holy Prophet." Rosenfeld said that the police presence in Jerusalem would be boosted from Sunday for the two-day Jewish New Year holiday, Rosh Hashana, which begins later in the day. "There will be a reinforced police presence for the Jewish festivals," he said. A low-budget film produced in the United States incited a wave of bloody anti-American violence in Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Tunisia, Yemen and in several other countries across the Muslim world.

On Friday, thousands of Palestinians protested in the Gaza Strip and hundreds in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, where there were clashes with Israeli police.

On Thursday around 60 Israeli Arabs took part in an Islamic Movement protest outside the US embassy in Tel Aviv.

The Israeli Arab community has its roots in the 160,000 Palestinians who stayed on their land after the creation of Israel in 1948. Israel puts their number today at 1.6 million, although that figure includes around 300,000 in east Jerusalem, few of them holding Israeli citizenship.