Court Extends Detention of Israelis Suspected in anti-Arab Attack

In recordings presented by police in court, one suspect can be heard calling on others to join assault ■ 'They're dangerous to everyone,' police representative says

The Jerusalem District Court extended the remand on Wednesday of the five Israeli men suspected of carrying out a racially-motivated attack on Arabs in Jerusalem last week.

"This is a case that has significant public meaning. These people are dangerous to everyone," the police representative said at court.

A group of Israeli men severely beat Palestinian students who were sitting together in a park in southern Jerusalem.

>> Fists, chairs and tasers: Jerusalem sees three attacks on Arabs by Jews in one week

“We were sitting there for maybe five minutes when we saw a group of about 30 men, aged 20 to 35 – one looked like their rabbi, around 55,” said Islam Agwa, one of the victims. “They were looking for Arabs and the second they saw we were Arabs their rabbi said a word and they jumped us.”

During the court hearing, police presented the court with new documentation of the incident in which it claimed to show a clearer image of one of the suspects at the scene.

In addition, police presented recordings from the suspect's cellphone in which he is heard calling on more people to join the assault.

An Israel Police representative who attended the court hearing said that "the suspicion is that several Jewish men who attended a religious party with alcohol nearby gathered [near the site of the attack], and once they confirmed [that the victims were] Arab they started beating them."

The Israel Police filed a prosecutor's statement against one of the suspects, a 16-year-old minor, and his remand was extended until Sunday.

The attorney of the minor whose recordings were presented by the police in court said that evidence against him was weak, mostly because some of the complainants failed to recognize him at a lineup. The attorney also noted that one of the complainants actually mistakenly identified a different man.  

The remand of another suspect, Jerusalem-based, 53-year-old Shimon Yehuda, has been extended until Friday. According to police, Yehuda was identified through security cameras from the scene but was not seen attacking the complainants.

During the hearing some of the complainants faced Yehuda, but didn't identify him as one of the attackers.

"Yehuda confirms that he came with others [to the scene of the attack]," the police representative said. "There's a quote in his confession that strengthens the assumption that this was a racially-motivated attack. In the video you don't see him beating people up but when the complainants are seen running away he can be seen chasing after them... he was not an innocent bystander."

In total, five suspects were arrested on suspicion of involvement in the assault.

One of the suspects was released due to special circumstances; the remand of two others was extended until Sunday and prosecutor's statements were filed against them; a third suspect's remand was extended until Friday and yet another suspect is in detention until Thursday, when it will be determined whether to request that he remain under arrest.

Police are still awaiting the approval of the attorney general in order to file an indictment charging that the attack was indeed racially-motivated