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Israel TV star 'ordered attacks'
One of Israel's most famous entertainers has been accused of ordering attacks on TV executives who turned down his ideas.
Dudu Topaz, 62, whose own TV show was cancelled five years ago, was arrested on Sunday. He denies any involvement.
Over the past year, thugs assaulted two TV executives and an agent. The most recent case, last month, ended up in hospital with a broken nose.
Topaz is a household name in Israel for his popular variety shows.
But in recent years his career has been on the wane, and he was keen to make a comeback.
His arrest has dominated the headlines in Israel, pushing other stories - including accounts of the fighting in the West Bank - down the news agenda.
Topaz's lawyer said his client was in "total shock" at the allegations. And last night Topaz told Israeli TV: "Someone stupid and cruel is spreading these rumours."
It is not the first time Topaz has courted controversy.
In 2003, on a TV show, he bit the arm of a Latin American soap opera star. And in 1995 he broke the glasses of a TV critic who had given his show a bad review.
Three other people have been arrested in connection with the most recent attacks. Two appeared in court on Sunday, where the judge described them as "the operational arm, but not the initiators" of the assaults.