Israel’s biggest religious festival of Ramadan has been called off amid security concerns.
It was due to begin on Monday after Israeli authorities said a number of people had been arrested, and that some schools were closed.
Israel’s chief rabbi said on Sunday that the ban was imposed because of the risk of an attack, and a security officer said he feared a “major attack” in the coming days.
An Israeli government spokesman said there were no “concrete indications” that any Israeli citizen had been involved in the protests.
Israel has a strong religious identity and has a large Muslim population.
The protests started on Sunday at a mosque near Tel Aviv, where the head of the city’s police force said there had been a “significant number” of arrests.
Israeli authorities said more than 2,000 people were arrested during the day, but the interior ministry later said the figure had risen to 5,500.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police were not treating the events as terror attacks, but as an attempt to intimidate citizens.
“This is a terrorist act,” he said.
“We know this will be a significant response.
We’re not ruling out the possibility that we’ll have to use lethal force.”
He said a total of 4,000 officers had been deployed to ensure security, and added that “security measures were being maintained to protect the security of all”.