Eritreans in Israel protesting on Eritrean Independence Day.
Eritreans in Israel protesting on Eritrean Independence Day. Photo by Moti Milrod
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Three Eritrean men were stabbed in south Tel Aviv yesterday while standing in a video store owned by one of the three victims. Police have detained a 34-year-old suspect, who they say is mentally disturbed.

The assailant entered the shop at about 11 A.M., armed with a knife, and attacked the three before fleeing the scene. Police found the alleged culprit based on footage from the store's security camera.

Police initially suspected that the attack was a hate crime against foreign migrants. But when they questioned him after his arrest, the suspect appeared to be mentally disturbed. It also turns out that he was arrested several months ago in the same area, after stabbing an Israeli. He was ordered to undergo a series of psychiatric treatments following that attack. When he stopped coming for his treatments, police declared him wanted for questioning.

A court hearing will be held today on a request to extend his detention. Police will seek to have him psychologically evaluated. If he is declared unfit for trial, police will seek to have him confined to a psychiatric hospital.

In an unrelated case, police filed a complaint in court yesterday against two south Tel Aviv residents, a 17-year-old and a man in his 20s, on suspicion that they threw Molotov cocktails at businesses operated by migrants in recent months. The suspects were arrested last week. They initially denied the allegations against them but ultimately admitted to firebombing three businesses in the area.

The pair expressed hatred for migrants that had come to Israel in the past several years and blamed the newcomers for taking their jobs. One of the suspects already has a police file in connection with property theft.

The men are expected to be indicted next week. Due to the severity of the allegations, the case will be heard in the Tel Aviv District Court rather than in magistrate's court.

At the beginning of July a 68-year-old migrant from Eritrea was attacked in Jerusalem by three young people, who are thought to have been drunk at the time. A bakery worker who witnessed the incident and tried to help the Eritrean was also attacked. Both of them were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. Jerusalem police have arrested one suspect in that case. In recent months, there were also two cases of arson of apartments of Eritrean migrants in the capital.