'Nakba Day' driver indicted on charges of murder

State claims Issa Islam set out to kill Jews; defendant indicted after his deadly truck rampage in Tel Aviv killed one person, wounded 17.

June 9, 2011 11:49
2 minute read.
Road attack in south Tel Aviv on Nakba Day

Nakba Day road attack 311. (photo credit: YAAKOV LAPPIN)

The Tel Aviv District Attorney’s Office indicted Islam Ibrahim Issa on Thursday, charging him with murder, attempted murder, causing bodily harm and endangering lives on the road for the May 15 Nakba Day truck rampage in the city that left one person dead and 17 injured.

According to the indictment, Issa, a 23-year-old resident of Kafr Kassem, was driven by nationalist ideology and planned in advance to use his vehicle, a 15-ton Volvo truck, to kill as many Jews as possible on Nakba Day.

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Tel Aviv rampage truck driver arraigned

The indictment describes Issa’s lethal tear along Rehov Bar Lev in Tel Aviv, which started at 9:30 in the morning when he smashed into a vehicle sporting an Israeli flag near the Mesubim junction.

He allegedly went on to ram seven more vehicles, including a scooter and a bus before exiting his vehicle and using a blunt object to beat passersby while shouting “Allahu Akbar,” Arabic for God is great, and racial epithets against Jews.

“In his actions, the defendant caused the death of the victim [Aviv Morag] in cold blood and without any provocation, under calculated circumstances in which he understood the meaning of his actions, having prepared himself to kill the deceased,” said the indictment. “The defendant also attempted to kill Assaf Amitai, Ofir Ashkenazi, Oren Kol, Shmuel Karmani, Korin Zigdon, Daniel Shiloah and Meir Levi.”

Since his arrest immediately following the rampage, Issa has denied that he planned to kill anyone, arguing that he simply lost control of his vehicle due to a punctured tire.

The state’s attorney asked to have Issa remanded until the end of legal proceedings. The defense asked for a psychiatric evaluation to determine whether Issa was suffering from temporary insanity or another emotional ailment at the time of the incident. The judge agreed to the evaluation and set a remand hearing for June 19.

After Thursday’s hearing, members of Issa’s family said he was being indicted for murder only because he was an Arab. They told reporters that the truth would come out in court.

David Morag, the dead man’s father, told Israel Radio he was pleased that police had refused to believe Issa’s claim that it had been an accident.

“We were lucky that he didn’t kill more people in his wild and murderous rampage,” said Morag.

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