Israel police.
Israel police. Photo by Moti Kimche
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Despite earlier suspicions that an attack of two IDF soldiers in Haifa on Friday was politically motivated, Israel police now believe the incident was a case of bullying related to an earlier argument that did not involve the soldiers.

In Friday’s incident, the two soldiers, dressed in civilian clothing, said that they were attacked by some ten people next to Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center, when a car carrying a number of Arab passengers approached them. The passengers asked them if they were Jewish, and proceeded to attack them with stones. Security guards at the hospital, who heard shouts, came to the site of the struggle and saw the vehicle leaving the site.

Although the two soldiers claimed the incident was based on nationalist, political grounds, after police detained a number of suspects in the incident it turned out that the attackers were looking to avenge other youths who had thrown stones at their houses, and that they attacked the soldiers by mistake believing they were those responsible.

Police detained two suspects in the incident on Sunday, having detained four on Saturday.

Rambam Hospital said that the two soldiers are suffering from injuries all over their bodies as a result of the attack.

One of them was released from hospital on Sunday morning, but decided to stay in the hospital, as he was still in pain.

Police Commissioner Yonatan Danino said, “I take violent attacks of this kind very seriously.” Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said, “We will not allow this kind of behavior,” adding that this kind of incident should not take place in a city which characterized by co-existence.