Police arrested four Tiberias youths early Monday morning on suspicion of involvement in an attack last week on an Arab maintenance worker in Tel Aviv. Police expect to apprehend other suspects in connection with the attack, which they said was motivated by anti-Arab sentiment.
The victim, Hassan Ausruf, a 40-year-old resident of Jaffa, was working as a street cleaner on Herbert Samuel Street, on the night between February 24 and 25, when he was attacked by a group of youths at about 4 A.M.
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Ausruf was brought to Ichilov Hospital for treatment; he sustained skull fractures and deep contusions to his head. His condition was described as moderate to serious.
Tel Aviv police launched an undercover investigation into the assault, which led them to the Tiberias suspects, who had apparently come to Tel Aviv for a Purim party at a club near the site of the attack.
The suspects are scheduled to appear in court on Monday, and the authorities are expected to ask that their remand be extended.
The victim's wife said her husband had asked his assailants why they were attacking him and they allegedly replied it was because he was Arab.
"They attacked him with anything they could, bottles and pieces of glass, and they caused very severe injuries to his head and eye," she said. "At one point, he managed to get away. His face was covered with blood and he managed to reach a friend of his who was at another spot on the street, where he collapsed. There is no doubt that his life was miraculously spared."
Ausruf's wife said they have lived in Jaffa for decades and have never encountered such violence and hatred. "They beat him just because he was an Arab and told him Arabs were trying to take over the country," she recounted.
The youths' arrest follows the detention on Sunday of a teenage girl from a Jewish settlement in the West Bank, who is suspected of assaulting an Arab woman at a light-rail station in Jerusalem last Monday.
Police launched an investigation into that incident after receiving photographs showing a group of young Jewish women attacking a woman, later identified as Hana Amtir.