Three Jerusalem Teenagers Indicted for Assaulting Arabs in Deadly Purim Riot

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Ibrahim Hamed outside the Jerusalem District Court on Thursday
Ibrahim Hamed outside the Jerusalem District Court on ThursdayCredit: Ohad Zwigenberg

Three people have been indicted for assaulting Arabs in Jerusalem on Purim during clashes that led to a pedestrian being fatally run over by a driver trying to escape the rioters.

However, the three aren’t charged with assaulting that driver, Ibrahim Hamed. To date, 15 suspects have been arrested in the case.

The indictments were filed in the Jerusalem District Court against Shimon Natan Shetrit, 19, Yitzhak Svaro, 18, and a 17-year-old boy. All are residents of Jerusalem.

They are charged with rioting, throwing stones and vandalizing a car, in part from racist motives, and also of attempting to assault a policeman. According to the indictment, they went looking for Arab drivers with the goal of assaulting them and attacked any vehicles that they identified as driven by Arabs.

“One of the rioters approached a Palestinian driver and asked him what time it is to verify that he was Arab,” the indictment said. “When it turned out that he was an Arab, he yelled at the other rioters, ‘An Arab in a Mazda.’”

Shetrit “kicked the gray Mazda, picked up a breakable object from the ground and threw it at the car,” it continued. Svaro “threw a stone at the car and kicked it.” And the minor “tried to open the car’s doors twice while it was driving, spit at the car and threw a cigarette at it.”

The riots went on for hours, and at their peak Hamed was attacked when other rioters broke into his car and one tried to strangle him. In his attempt to escape, he ran over a pedestrian, Itamar Ben Abu.

Hamed was arrested on suspicion of reckless homicide but released three days later. The police apparently don’t intend to press charges against him.

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