PNN – Palestine News Network – House Arrest for Assaults on Arabs in Jerusalem

22.12.10 – 14:14 Jerusalem – Maysa Abu Ghazala – PNN/Exclusive – Israeli police revealed on Tuesday that they captured nine members of a Jewish extremist cell suspected of carrying out a series of violent, racially motivated attacks on Jerusalem youths. Three of them were released on Wednesday into house arrest until the investigation is concluded.

The attacks happened as the group lured Arabs into closed spaces—sometimes with the aid of a 14-year-old girl—demanded their identification and beat them. Many needed emergency treatment in hospitals and several had their identification cards burned.

The families of the victims denounced the attacks and the release of the suspects into house arrest. Their accounts follow:

  • Anan Yaghmour: We Want Fair Punishment
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Anan Yaghmour, 21, after his assault (PNN Images).

Anan Yaghmour, 21 and from Silwan, went to Muskubiya Prison compound in Jerusalem yesterday and look at pictures of his assailants, but he could not recognize any of them because the attack happened in the middle of the night. He seemed surprised that they had been released into house arrest because he remembered how violently they had beat him on the face and head—considered attempted murder under Israeli law.

“The whole investigation needs to be worthy of the crime that was committed,” he said. “The young age of [the assailants] should not remove their responsibility and does not justify their actions. They planned this, and they are not minors.”

  • Ahmed Sabeeh: I Demand Imprisonment and Compensation
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Ahmed Sabeeh, 40 (PNN Images).

Ahmed Sabeeh, 40, was contacted by the police and told to come to Muskubiya Compound on Wednesday. He was unable to come because of a death in the family and will make the visit next Thursday.

Sabeeh demanded punishment for the assailants in the form of imprisonment and monetary compensation, explaining that the attackers had broken all of his front teeth and he could not eat because of the pain. He also said he suffered from nightmares and could not sleep for more than a half-hour at a time.

  • Luba al-Samri, Israeli Police Spokesman for Arab Media

In a telephone conversation with Luba al-Samri, a liaison from the Israeli police to Arab media, it became clear that trial proceedings would begin in the next few days. He explained that a newly formed police force called the “Jerusalem Brigade” had arrested the nine suspects , seven of them minors and most of them living in West Jerusalem.

“It has come out from the interrogations so far that the attacks were nationalistically motivated,” he said. “It has been decided to release them under the condition that their movement is restricted and that they be placed under house arrest.”

The results of the investigation indicate that the assaults were planned and targeted Arabs and on three occasions included a 14-year-old Jewish girl luring the victims in by asking for a cigarette or asking to take a walk. The attacks occurred in al-Qamr Circle, Independence Park, an unidentified school, and Zion Square in West Jerusalem. Attackers used stones, glass bottles, and tear gas.

According to al-Samri, the head of the gang was 14 years old and was either friends or schoolmates with all of the other suspects.

  • Details of the Assaults on Yaghmour and Sabeeh

PNN has learned of a report from the Jerusalem Center for Legal Assistance and Human Rights citing the details of the assaults on Yaghmour and Sabeeh. In both cases, the victims were asked for a cigarette before being lured into a trap.

According to the report, the assault on Anan Yaghmour occurred on November 6 around midnight as he walked down Haleel Street. A girl stopped him and asked for a cigarette and asked in Arabic if he lived in Israel. After they walked several meters Yaghmour was attacked. After he screamed that he was a Moroccan Jew, the assailants allegedly asked him for his identity card and after seeing that he was an Arab, continued beating him on the face and head with stones and spraying him with tear gas.

Yaghmour was able to escape, jumped a fence, and fled down a main street. It is unclear how or when a police car and ambulance arrived, but he was taken to the Hadassa Hospital soon thereafter.

The assault on Ahmed Sabeeh occurred in Independence Park on October 31, as he was talking on the phone near the park at night. A girl asked him for a cigarette and when he did not respond, about 20 Jewish boys rushed toward him and demanded his name. He told them his real name and they reportedly shouted, “He’s Arab!” before beating him with large rocks on his face and head. It is unclear from the report how Sabeeh escaped.

PNN – Palestine News Network – House Arrest for Assaults on Arabs in Jerusalem.

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