Israeli Police Arrest Fourth Suspect in Beating of Arab Man in Tel Aviv Suburb

Charges will likely be filed against the four suspects in the assault in Bat Yam in the coming days ■ Fourth suspect also arrested in the firebombing of Jaffa home, which left a 12-year-old boy with burns

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Said Moussa laying on the ground after he was pulled out of his car and beaten in Bat Yam, last week.
Said Moussa laying on the ground after he was pulled out of his car and beaten in Bat Yam, last week.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

Police arrested another suspect on Friday night in the beating of an Arab man in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam last week.

Last week, a mob of right-wing Jewish extremists pulled Ramle resident Said Moussa out of his car and beat him. He was evacuated for medical treatment in serious condition, but the 33-year-old’s condition improved and he was released from the hospital on Wednesday.

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The suspect, a Bat Yam resident in his 20s, is the fourth suspect to be arrested in connection to the attack. He will be brought to the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court on Saturday evening for a hearing on extending his detention.

The prosecution is expected to file charges against the other three suspects in the coming days. Lahav Nagauker, Netanel Binyamin and a minor whose name is under gag order have been accused of attempted murder, bodily harm, bias crime and destruction of property, but a law enforcement source said that they will not be charged with attempted murder.

The source said that the prosecution will have difficulty proving that the suspects intended to kill Moussa, and will likely prosecute them for a crime with an equivalent punishment. A video of the attack shows dozens of people surrounding Moussa as more than 10 beat him. Thus far, only four people have been arrested.

Said Moussa, minutes after he was pulled out of his car and beaten in Bat Yam, last week.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

A police representative, Senior Staff Sgt. Maj. Gadi Avidan, said in a discussion on the matter earlier this week that there was “preliminary planning on the part of all the suspects to arrive in a certain place on a WhatsApp group, how to get there and what to do in case they encountered an Arab.” He added, “The three suspects engaged in inciting the mob before the victim arrived. They stole, looted from and destroyed stores owned by Arabs. When they saw an Arab, they carried out an extremely merciless beating.”

Last week, senior police sources said that the organization was not adequately prepared for the riots that broke out in Bat Yam, and that the intelligence regarding the number of participants in the clashes and the amount of violence in the city was lacking.

Prior to the beating of Moussa, dozens of right-wing activists marched in the city and attacked a number of Arab-owned businesses. The rioters smashed windows, threw objects and chanted racist slogans. “There was an estimate that a few dozen people would come – but in reality 300 people came,” a senior police officer told Haaretz.

In many of the instances of violence in Bat Yam and other cities, police were not stationed nearby, and no one stopped the rioters. The officer said that despite this, the chain of command is pleased with the work of the force, who he said did what was expected of them and prevented “hundreds of clashes.”

Jaffa firebombing

The police and the Shin Bet security service also said on Saturday they arrested another man suspected of throwing a firebomb into a house in Jaffa, which resulted in the injury of 12-year-old Mohammad Gintazi. The suspect is in his thirties, an Arab resident of Jaffa who is the brother of another suspect who was arrested earlier in the week.

The incident occurred nine days ago, when two masked men came to the Gintazi home in the Ajami neighborhood holding a firebomb. They threw it through a window and fled the scene. Three children inside the house were hurt, including 12-year-old Mohammed, who was seriously wounded. His condition later improved and was described as moderate. His 10-year-old sister was lightly injured while a 5-year-old sister was described as suffering from shock.

A joint investigation by special police forces and the Shin Bet led to the arrest last Sunday of the first suspect, a Jaffa resident in his twenties. His detention was extended by nine days last Tuesday. The Shin Bet also obtained an injunction forbidding the man to meet with his lawyer Sharon Keinan, since the assault was politically motivated.

The police possess scientific evidence that links the first suspect to the act. Haaretz has learned that the suspect has a criminal background, mainly related to property violations. The suspicion is that the two men threw at least four firebombs at houses in the area, believing they were occupied by Jews.

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