Eight Arab-Israelis from the North were charged in the Haifa District Court on Sunday with planning and carrying out attacks on IDF soldiers and stealing their firearms.
The defendants – six from Sakhnin, one from Kafr Kanna, and one from Ablin, were arrested early this month by the Galilee Police’s Central Unit, which had investigated the incidents together with the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).
According to the charge sheet, during one premeditated attack, three of the suspects met last month and set out to find a soldier hitching a ride on his own.
The gang allegedly found a soldier standing alone at the Koach junction near Kiryat Shmona. One suspect, named by prosecutors as 25-year-old Omer Tzalah Mahmed Sha’alta, remained in the vehicle to act as a getaway driver, while two others, named as 20-year-old Mahmed Salah Sha’alta and 24-year-old Mezhar Tzalah Mahmed Sha’alta, 24, all three residents of Sakhnin, approached the soldier, according to the charge sheet.
The soldier was allegedly struck on the head by the two suspects on
foot, who then proceeded to steal his M-16 assault rifle as he lay on
the ground and flee the scene. The firearm was then allegedly sold on
the black market for NIS 34,000.
The charge sheet has also
linked the suspects with another attack on a soldier in Karmiel in
January that was allegedly similar to the violent robbery near Kiryat
A number of the suspects have also been charged with
other illegal arms sales. Prosecutors withdrew charges against Karmiel
resident Vadim Polishuk, who was wrongly arrested on suspicion of being
involved in January’s robbery.