'A Sort of Private Police': Private Security Guards Attack Israeli Cops in Arab City

Bar Peleg
Bar Peleg
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The brawl in Kafr Qasem
The brawl in Kafr Qasem
Bar Peleg
Bar Peleg

Israeli police arrested four men belonging to a private security company on suspicion of rioting and assaulting officers in Kafr Qasem overnight on Thursday.

According to the police, the attack occurred at 3:00 AM on Friday after they attempted to arrest a man suspect of vandalism of assault. The private security company escorted the suspect to Kafr Qasem city hall building, where their office is based, and blocked the police from detaining the suspect.

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Footage of the incident shows the assaults being carried out, including one suspect punching an officer in the face. Two officers were injured, as well as a police volunteer, and were given medical treatment at the scene. One police officer made use of a taser gun.

The suspects are members of a local security company which the police described as "some kind of private police."

"We won't allow violence against police officers like what occurred in Kafr Qasem. I've instructed [commanders] to act diligently and aggressively against all those involved," police chief Kobi Shabtai said.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett gave his full backing to the police officers. "My expectation from the Arab community, which wants the state to get involved, is to support the police. We will reach the attackers and mete out justice," he said.

During a hearing on extending the detention of the main suspect, which saw the extension of the arrest of two of the suspects by two days, a police representative said that the officers came to the location because of a complaint, fearing that a human life was in danger.

"This is a group of vigilantes who decided that law enforcement can't enter a place, even though the law says they can. Their resistance was violent and caused the officers' injuries," the representative added.

In a statement, Kafr Qasem city hall condemned the incident and stressed that the suspects aren't connected to a local neighborhood watch initiative.

Mansour Abbas, chairman of the United Arab List, also condemned the incident in an interview with Channel 12: "Arab society must understand - we understand that - that the rule of law is also for the good of Arab society, and also for the good for society in general." 

"We want the police to be in the Arab localities, and to do their job within bounds of the law," he said. 

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