Fireworks and flypast celebrate 60 years of Israel

Click to follow

Israel's military took the lead in official commemoration of the country's foundation 60 years ago as hundreds of thousands of private citizens took to the parks and streets for traditional Independence Day barbecues.

The Israeli Air Force staged flyovers and skydiving exhibitions, while the Israel Defence Forces orchestra took part in a parade in Haifa and navy vessels sailed along the Mediterranean coast from Haifa to Ashdod.

Three people were reported as seriously injured after a paratrooper taking part in a skydiving display accidentally parachuted into stands where spectators were seated at a beach in Tel Aviv.

Gordon Brown joined the Queen in congratulating Israel on its 60th anniversary, saying that the state's creation was one of the 20th century's "greatest achievements".

Police and Arab-Israeli youths clashed yesterday after a demonstration near Nazareth for the 60th anniversary of the nakba, or catastrophe – when 700,000 Arabs were forced from or fled their homes in the 1948 war. Police used stun grenades and stones were thrown by young protesters who had rallied near a right-wing counter-demonstration.