Six Arab residents of Lod and two West Bank Palestinians were arrested on suspicion of murdering 56-year-old Lod resident Yigal Yehoshua during last month’s riots.
Seven of those arrested are suspected of racially-motivated murder, murder as an act of terrorism, stone-throwing and other crimes. The other man is suspected of obstructing the investigation. The Rishon Letzion Magistrate’s Court permitted publication of the arrests at the request of Haaretz.
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It is suspected that the men threw stones at vehicles driving through Lod’s northern industrial zone. One of the stones broke the window of Yehoshua’s vehicle and struck him. He later died of his injuries.
On Sunday morning, the prosecution announced its intention to indict the suspects and asked that they be kept in custody for the duration of the proceedings against them.
The police and the Shin Bet security service are investigating whether the attack on Yehoshua was in revenge for the death of Moussa Hassouna, who was shot to death the day before in clashes between Jews and Arabs. A number of the suspects are connected to the Hassouna family, but it is still unclear whether the two incidents are connected. In addition, a police source told Haaretz that a number of the suspects worked at the Royal Palace events hall near the scene of Yehoshua’s murder. The events hall denied any connection to the suspects.
The suspects are Mahmoud Hassouna, 33, Haled Hassouna, 51, Karim Bahalul, 20, Yusef Alkadim, 21, Walid Alkadim, 25 and Iyad Marahala 20, all Lod residents, as well as Ahmed Danun and Kamal Zif Allah, 21, from Beit Lakia. The police believe that some of the suspects acted to conceal their involvement by deleting film from security cameras.
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Intelligence collected by the Shin Bet security service led to the arrest of several suspects at the beginning of this month. The rest were arrested about a week later. By order of the Shin Bet, the suspects were denied access to a lawyer. Some suspects admitted to throwing stones, but denied that this led to Yehoshua’s death. According to sources familiar with the investigation, there is difficulty charging a number of suspects to murder due to issues involving evidence.
According to the lawyer for one of the suspects, his client was questioned for hours while tied to a chair. The sister of the same suspect told Haaretz: “He didn’t do anything. He’s an older man, during the interrogations he was still recovering from surgery for an intestinal blockage. I don’t want to know what they did to him there [during the interrogations]” she said.
The attorney for a number of the suspects, Rais Abu Seif, said his clients “denied any association with murder, and all they cared about was getting to their place of employment. Everything they’re trying to connect to them is assumptions.”