African Migrants Wounded in Jerusalem Fire, in Suspected Hate Attack

Eritrean man, pregnant woman suffer burn wounds to their legs after attempting to put out the spreading fire with their feet.

Two African migrants were lightly to moderately wounded on Thursday, in what the police suspect was the intentional torching of their Jerusalem apartment.

A preliminary investigation of the event revealed that the fire began spreading in the apartment of an Eritrean couple around 3 A.M., with the man and his pregnant wife attempting to put out the flames with their feet.

The couple eventually managed to escape the apartment, and into the nearby Agrippas Street, suffering from burn wounds in their legs and from smoke inhalation. Emergency crews arriving at the scene evacuated the two to be treated in Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem.

The incident represents one of several incidents suspected of targeting African migrants in recent months, as public debate increased over the presence of tens of thousands of migrants in Israel.

Last month, a man was lightly wounded when a firecracker was thrown at a pub frequented by Eritrean citizens, situated in south Tel Aviv's Hatikva neighborhood.

As a result of the blast, various items in the pub were broken, the fragments of which apparently wounding the patron.

Israel Police began scanning the area to track down the suspected perpetrators of the act, which took place on Ha'Etzel Street at around 11:30 P.M. The pub's owner, Amina Takla – himself a migrant from Eritrea – saw two people on a motorcycle stop outside the pub's entrance and throw the firecracker.

African migrants arson - Olivier Fitoussi - 12.7.2012
Olivier Fitoussi