Teen Arrested for Suspected Murder of Man Run Over by Electric Bike in Jewish-Arab City

Ran Shimoni
Ran Shimoni
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Memorial where Distau Bissat was killed, Ramle, Israel.
Memorial where Distau Bissat was killed, Ramle, Israel. Credit: Yael Goldstein
Ran Shimoni
Ran Shimoni

Police on Sunday arrested a 16-year-old from Ramle on suspicion of murder, for allegedly running over a 74-year-old man with his electric bike at the end of May, after Israel's latest fighting with Gaza.

The incident had originally been investigated as a hit-and-run accident, but in recent weeks it has evolved into a murder investigation. The Rishon Letzion Magistrate’s Court extended the youth’s detention by four days.

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Distau Bissat was killed a week-and-a-half after the cease-fire that ended the fighting with Gaza, while he was waiting at a bus stop with his family near the Ramle Mall. As documented by security cameras at the scene, several riders on electric bikes hit Bissat and fled the scene. He died at Shamir Medical Center about two weeks later.

Police at first rejected claims by the family members that the ramming had been deliberate, or had a political motive.

The family has contended throughout that police should have been investigating with the Shin Bet, similar to incidents investigated during that period of Arab-Jewish clashes throughout the country.

The youth, who has no criminal record, invoked his right to remain silent during questioning. His lawyer, Josef Paryenti, said that his client denies all connection to the incident and that he was actually with his mother and brother at the time it happened.

Haaretz has learned that the police have yet to unequivocally implicate the suspect, but that the court, in extending his detention, said there was a reasonable suspicion that he had committed the acts attributed to him.

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