Scooter Rams Into Two Protesters in Tel Aviv, Lightly Wounding Them

Rose Assadi says she was posing for a picture with a Palestinian flag when a man screamed 'death to Arabs' and ran into her sibling and her with an electric scooter, eyewitnesses say

Ran Shimoni
Ran Shimoni
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The scene of the incident in which a man ran over two sisters holding a Palestinian flag at a protest in Tel Aviv, Saturday.
The scene of the incident in which a man ran over two sisters holding a Palestinian flag at a protest in Tel Aviv, Saturday.Credit: יונתן המפל
Ran Shimoni
Ran Shimoni

Two women at a rally marking the 55th anniversary of the occupation were struck and lightly injured by a man riding an electric scooter on Saturday night in Tel Aviv.

The police detained the man – who denied that he had hit them intentionally – and released him. Five eyewitnesses, among them is one of the women he struck, told Haaretz that they believed he had deliberately run into them.

The two women who were hit are sisters Rose and Muna Assadi from the Galilee town of Deir al-Assad. They were attending a protest against Israel's occupation of the West Bank at Habimah Square in Tel Aviv, and were holding a Palestinian flag when the incident occurred.

“The rally was over, we wanted to head to the bus, and we stopped to take a picture,” Rose said. “There was a guy with an electric scooter standing and looking at us all the time. I don’t remember everything he said to us, but I did hear him say: ‘Death to the Arabs.’ Suddenly I was hit in the back and fell down.”

Rose, who was suffering from bruises on her back and shoulder, and Muna, whose arm and hip were hurt, were taken for treatment to Ichilov Hospital, in the city.

Abdallah Abbas, from the northern town of Nahf, east of Acre, was taking the sisters’ picture when they were hit. “They asked me to take their picture. A Jewish man came, cursed us and left. Suddenly he came back on an electric scooter and ran into [them]. It had to be intentional. I ran after him and caught him. I reported it to the police with two other people, but I understood that there was no point. They let him go.”

Before the incident involving the Assadi sisters, the same man on the scooter had approached Amit Cohen, from Ashdod, apparently because he was holding a Palestinian flag.

“He said something like: ‘What’s this flag? Go to Gaza.’ I thought he wanted to hit me but then, instead of continuing on his way, going straight, he took a left turn and went right into the center of a group of Arabs who were there,” Cohen recalled. “After he ran into them, he tried to get away, but they stopped him.”

Another eyewitness, Ahmed Abadi, from Jadeidi-Makr, also near Acre, was standing near the Assadi sisters.

“The man on the scooter said something unpleasant to them because they were holding a Palestinian flag, but they didn’t answer him,” Abadi recalled. “Then he ran into them – first Rose fell on the ground and then he ran into her again, [hitting] the shoulder. And he also hurt her sister. He did it twice. Of course it was on purpose.”

Another resident of Nahf, Ward Kashkash, provided a similar description of what happened: “They [the women] were hugging each other, so they could have their picture taken, and were holding a Palestinian flag. The guy saw them, cursed them and ran into them. He really ran over one of them.”

Kashkash said he was standing half a meter away when the man struck the women with his scooter, added that the rider was arrested by police after protesters threw water bottles at him. “Everyone there knew it was on purpose,” Kashkash said, adding that when video or cellphone footage of the incident is found, what had happened will be clear to everyone.

The Israel Police provided this statement: “The police have launched an investigation into the circumstances of the incident, during which the suspect was questioned and released under restrictive conditions. Any conclusion not based on evidence may distort the truth.”

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