Military Court Extends Remand of Israeli Soldiers Suspected of Assaulting Bedouin

Military police find contradictions in stories of the suspects, who say they were threatened with violence before brawl

File photo: A picture from the Netzah Yehuda Brigade's swearing-in ceremony, May 27, 2015.
Tali Mayer

A military court extended the remand on Thursday of 13 soldiers suspected of attacking Bedouins at a gas station, with military police believing that their claim that they had been threatened was false.

The soldiers belong to Netzah Yehuda, an ultra-Orthodox battalion of the military's Kfir Brigade. Along with a fourteenth suspect who has been released, they were arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of assault, unlawful use of a weapon, and making threats.

The soldiers claimed that one of the Bedouin threatened to stab them, causing a brawl to break out. According to a source with knowledge of the investigation, however, suspects have provided different versions of the incident, raising doubts about their initial account. At this point, military police believe the soldiers exceeded their authority.

The father of one of the Bedouin men told Haaretz that the soldiers pointed loaded weapons at the group and made them lie down on the ground, while stepping on them. "My son was afraid he would be killed," said the father. "He told me they put magazines into the weapons."