Israeli Accused of Hunting Rape Victims by Sea of Galilee Indicted for Indecent Acts

28-year-old Mohammed Shalbi from near Nazareth in northern Israel is accused of sex crimes against a number of victims, including minors, at beaches along the lake

Noa Shpigel
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Camping by the Sea of Galilee in 2016.
Camping by the Sea of Galilee in 2016.Credit: Gil Eliahu
Noa Shpigel

An Israeli man was indicted on Thursday for indecent acts against two girls on beaches along the Sea of Galilee, one of whom was 12-year-old, along with committing indecent acts against five other women, including one minor.

The 28-year-old Mohammed Shalbi, from the Israeli-Arab town of Iksal near Nazareth in northern Israel, was indicted in the Nazareth District Court. According to police findings, Shalbi is responsible for at least seven counts of sexual assault and attempted assault – which occurred on five nights last month at the Kursi, Tzinbari and Gofra beaches along the Sea of Galilee.

28-year-old Mohammed Shalbi from near Nazareth in northern Israel.
28-year-old Mohammed Shalbi from near Nazareth in northern Israel.Credit: Israel Police spokesperson

Shalbi is also accused of coming to the beaches late at night and opening the tents of campers looking for victims. He was arrested three days after the family of the 12-year-old girl complained to the police, and was identified with the help of DNA he left behind on the beach.

The police said his friends tried to prevent officers from arresting him.

Said Haddad, the attorney from the Public Defender’s Office representing Shalbi, said his client denies the accusations. In addition, “in spite of all the numerous declarations and reports about serious suspicions, in the end the indictment includes only crimes at the lowest levels of sex crimes.”

Shalbi will be held under arrest until further notice, and the court banned the publication of any details about the victims.

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