Jaffa Firebomb Attack That Seriously Injured Arab Boy Was Meant for Jews, Indictment Says

The three defendants, Arab residents of the city 'torched houses and apartments that they believed were the homes of Jews' during last month's wave of Jewish-Arab unrest, according to the charges against them

Ran Shimoni
Ran Shimoni
The suspects reenact the attack, in which 12-year-old Muhammad Gintazi was injured, last month.
The suspects reenact the attack, in which 12-year-old Muhammad Gintazi was injured, last month. Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
Ran Shimoni
Ran Shimoni

A firebomb hurled at a Jaffa home last month during a wave of Jewish-Arab unrest, causing severe burn injuries to a 12-year-old Arab boy, was meant to target Jewish residents of the city, according to the charges filed Thursday against the three Arab defendants in the case.

Rizak Jarboa and Ahmad Daoud were charged with attempted murder and incitement with terrorist motives. Raed Jarboa, Rizak’s brother, was charged as an accessory to these offenses and also with obstruction of justice.

The charges bring to 13 the number of Arab residents of Jaffa who have been indicted in connection to riots in the city in May.

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"The suspects torched houses and apartments that they believed were the homes of Jews with the intent of causing death to their inhabitants out of nationalistic-ideological motive and to provoke public fear and panic," the indictment notes. "There was, in fact, a real risk of serious bodily injury," it added.

According to the indictment, Jarboa and Daoud threw firebombs at various homes. Daoud “mistakenly identified” one of the houses and injured the 12-year-old Mohammad Gintazi. After they realized their mistake, the two fled to a relative. Jarboa’s DNA, however, was found at two scenes, including one near the Gintazi home

Raed Jarboa, who allegedly helped prepare the firebombs, incriminated his brother and Daoud in the attack, according to the indictment, but he denies it.

Last month, Haaretz reported that police believe Arab perpetrators were responsible for the firebomb that injured Gintazi. That became the main line of investigation after police found that, except for the Gintazi home, firebombs had been thrown at four properties occupied by Jews.

A report from last month showed that the Israel's Shin Bet security service has taken over the investigation of recent cases of ethnic violence in an effort to quell the unrest that engulfed both Jewish and Arab communities. The Shin Bet also led the probe in the Gintazi case, in cooperation with the police.

While the investigation was underway, one of the brothers was hospitalized for three days with bruises to his upper body, which he claimed were caused by investigators. His attorney, Ahmad Younis, claimed that he had not been notified of the hospitalization and that the Shin Bet refused to tell him where his client was being cared for. According to a law enforcement source, the suspect was hospitalized for medical problems unconnected with the investigation.

The suspect told his lawyer that the interrogations were led by a large number of investigators, and at some point he didn’t know to whom he was speaking. Thus, he claims his confession was forced. The Shin Bet denies the claim.

“They blindfolded him. He didn’t know where he was or who the investigator was who beat him,” said Younis. “We’re talking about a shocking incident that is contrary to all laws. It’s a gross violation of a suspect’s rights.”

Although the Shin Bet denied it, a medical report stated he had bruises on his body. A Tel Aviv court judge demanded an explanation when the suspect arrived on Wednesday for an extension of his remand. In response, the Shin Bet misconduct unit began to examine the case.

Another suspect's lawyer also described an incident in which one of their clients was subject to physical pressure, in one of the reenactments. That incident was documented and shown to the court.

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