An Israeli court has extended to Sunday the detention of two Jewish suspects in the mob attack two weeks ago on an Arab man in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam.
Six people have been arrested in the assault of Said Moussa, who was seriously injured in the attack.
A police representative told the court the suspects kicked the victim in the face, and that one, Shay Simhon, continued to kick him after he passed out. The suspects face charges that include criminal conspiracy and assault and battery.
Simhon is currently doing community service after previous convictions for violent offenses. He admitted to taking part in the assault, after initially denying his participation even after police showed him a video where he can be seen attacking Moussa.
Simhon told detectives he assaulted Moussa after hearing people shout “terrorist.” A police representative said Simhon had said that he’d wanted to save the country by foiling a terror attack.
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The second suspect said that he was on his way to his mother-in-law who lives right near the site of the attack. Police say he was apprehended based on the clothing he was wearing at the scene. His lawyer argued that videos of the attack, which police have used to help identify suspects, show him arriving at the end of the incident.
A policeman testified that the suspect was there the whole time, adding that he had kicked the victim numerous times, even though the man was lying on the ground motionless.
Judge Christina Hilo Sa’ad said there was reasonable suspicion regarding the assault, but that evidence of conspiring to commit a crime was less convincing at this point.
Zohar Barzilai said that his client, the suspect whose name is still under a gag order, is from a respectable family and just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Like hundreds of other people, Barzilai said, his client ran toward the site of the regrettable incident but did not participate in the violence. He told the police he repudiated all violence.
“I’m sure he will be released soon,” Barzilai said. The lawyer for the other suspect said that the suspect’s identity was known to investigators three days before his arrest, and he wasn’t disputing that fact. The suspect had gotten himself into a tight spot and gave a version which needed to be checked. This could help sort things out, said the attorney.