Israel Charges Two Arabs With Shooting at Jews in May Riots, Terrorism

Two members of the same family accused of firing at Jewish residents during Jewish-Arab clashes in Lod earlier this year

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Ayad Hassouna (second from right) in court, June.
Ayad Hassouna (second from right) in court, June.Credit: Ilan Assayag

Israel charged two residents of Lod on Thursday with shooting at Jews in the city during widespread rioting in May that coincided with a war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

The State Prosecutor's Office indicted Amsalem and Ayad Hassouna, both members of the same family, on charges of terrorism, illegally firing a weapon and weapons trading, saying they had fired at Jewish residents in several incidents, in one case moderately wounding a volunteer paramedic.  

Ayad Hassouna, who has place in administrative detention five months ago, was supposed to be released this week. However, the return of Amsalem Hassouna to Israel after traveling to Turkey months ago led to him being detained and interrogated by the Shin Bet, resulting in the indictment.

According to the indictment, during riots in Lod the pair noticed Jews standing in a crowd outside their house. Amsalem Hassouna fired into the air in order to scare them, and the pair then went to another residence and fired numerous shots at Jews, the indictment said. Amsalem Hassouna fired the bullet that struck a volunteer paramedic's leg from a distance of 10 meters (about 30 feet), according to the indictment. They then allegedly escaped the scene and hid the guns.

Amsalem Hassouna was also accused of firing three shots into the air in order to scare Jewish passengers in a car passing by his house in May, and of selling a Kalashnikov for 45,000 shekels.

He was also charged with aggravated interference with a police officer and rioting for allegedly throwing stones at police during the funeral of Moussa Hassouna, a Lod resident who was shot and killed during clashes between Arabs and Jews. In addition to being charged with terrorism and weapons possession, Ayad Hassouna was also accused of obstruction of justice.    

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