Third Suspect Arrested in Violent Assault on Israeli Arabs

Other suspects have been released to house arrest, days after three young men were severely beaten and hospitalized

Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel
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The three men from Shfar’am who were attacked on the beach in Kiryat Haim, August 27, 2018.
The three men from Shfar’am who were attacked on the beach in Kiryat Haim, August 27, 2018.Credit: Gil Eliyahu
Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel

Police on Monday arrested a third suspect in the violent assault on three Israeli Arabs that occurred at a Haifa-area beach on Thursday.

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Authorities plan to bring the suspect before a magistrate's court on Tuesday with a request to extend his remand.

On Sunday, a court released to house arrest one of the suspects in the attack, a 29-year-old resident of the city of Nesher in the Haifa District, after ruling that there was no evidentiary basis for continuing his detention.

His attorney, a public defender, said: "Unfortunately, Israel Police rushed to arrest the young man without any suspicion and solely based on rumors, severely violating his rights and his liberty."

The release of the first suspect who had been arrested, a 23-year-old from Kiryat Haim, was appealed by police, but the appeal was rejected. His public defender told Haaretz that police had failed to conduct a police lineup. "The police arrested a man who has no relation to the incident, [and it was] a false arrest carried out solely on the basis of intelligence information," said the lawyer.

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The court ruled that both the released suspects be kept under house arrest until Tuesday. One of the three victims in the attack, who asked to be identified by the initial M., told Haaretz that a man approached him on the beach and asked if he and his friends were Arabs. After M. said they were, the man left returned with a group of several armed with knives, chains and sticks and began severely beating the three men.

M. quoted the attackers as saying that Arabs should not be at the beach and that they should go to their "own places." He could not recall how long the assault lasted, which he said only stopped when two Jewish passersby approached to assist the three men. "I thought one of my friends was dead," M. recounted. "They beat his head and he wasn't responding."  The passersby called police and emergency services, he said.

The three men were hospitalized at Rambam Medical Center: M. for nine hours, and the others on Friday night.

"I'm lying in bed, unable to walk, with bruises all over my body," M. said. "I'm supposed to work today and I can't." He added that it was the first time he had encountered such violence and noted that he was born in Haifa.

Images posted online that purportedly showed injuries inflicted during the attack showed gashes on two men's heads, including one that had been closed by a surgical staple.  

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