Eilat police on Saturday arrested four local men, including one soldier and one
minor, who they suspect carried out a series of violent attacks and robberies on
African migrants in the city over the past two months.
In all of the
cases, the victims required hospitalization.
In addition, it was the
migrants themselves who complained to police about the attacks, despite the fact
that they are often reluctant to go to police because of their unclear legal
status in the country.
Insp. Lior Ben-Simon of the Eilat subdistrict said
that a local man called police early Saturday morning to report seeing four men
attack an African migrant and beat and rob him before fleeing in a car. The
resident gave police the car’s license number and they were able to track down
the car and four suspects shortly after.
A photo sent out by police shows
the gear found in one of the cars, which Ben- Simon said police suspect was used
in the attacks, including a metal pole, pepper spray, a screwdriver, a knife, a
chain and gloves. In another car, police found a cellphone that was stolen in a
previous attack, Ben- Simon added.
Ben-Simon said that all four suspects
are Eilat locals without criminal records, and are friends with each other.
Three of them are age 18 and the fourth is 17 years old. The suspect who is in
the IDF serves in the navy and is based in Eilat.
When asked if the
attacks were racially motivated or if migrants are simply easy targets,
Ben-Simon said that police have indications that both motives were present, but
haven’t reached a final conclusion on what was behind the attacks.
the suspects have linked themselves to two of the attacks, but have not yet
confessed. On Sunday the Eilat Magistrate’s Court extended the remand of the
three adult suspects by four days, and the minor by three days. The
investigation is currently being handled by the southern district branch of the
YAMAR investigative unit.