Mentally disturbed’ man stabs 3 Eritreans in TA

Police arrest "mentally disturbed" suspect, 2 patrons of internet-cafe in south Tel Aviv neighborhood lightly wounded.

July 31, 2012 16:43
2 minute read.
Eritrean migrants: Illustratory

Eritrean migrants living in Tel Aviv 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)


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A Tel Aviv man stabbed three Eritrean migrants at an Internet café in south Tel Aviv’s Shapira neighborhood on Tuesday morning, leaving two patrons lightly wounded.

Police arrested a suspect shortly after the stabbing, who they described as a 38-yearold “mentally disturbed” Tel Aviv resident.

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Police said the man had been receiving psychiatric treatment for some time before the incident took place, but would not elaborate on the specifics of his illness.

He will be brought for a hearing at the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday morning, where police will seek an extension of his remand.

According to eyewitnesses, the man stabbed two patrons – who had their backs to him – immediately after entering the store. The owner of the internet café, Isaias Tesfamariam, said he was cut on the hand when he began struggling with the assailant, who said nothing before he began to attack.

Tesfamariam, who has lived in Israel for the past four years and nine months, said he opened the Internet café a little over a year ago and has not experienced any problems with veteran Israeli residents.

He added that he has no idea why anyone would target his store or his customers.

“This has never happened before, we’ve never had any problems,” Tesfamariam said, adding that he is not afraid he will be targeted again. “All I can do is just protect myself, what else can I do?” Shapira and the south Tel Aviv neighborhoods of Hatikva and Neveh Sha’anan have seen a series of attacks in recent months on members of the African migrant community – which numbers more than 60,000 across Israel.

In mid-July a man opened fire on a group of Eritrean men sleeping in a doorway on Hahmei Yisrael street in south Tel Aviv, lightly wounding one man.

Police said Tuesday the case is still under investigation, but that they believe the incident was part of a robbery and not racially-motivated. In late May, residents of the Hatikva neighborhood smashed African-owned stores and beat African migrants, following a protest against illegal African “infiltrators” held in the neighborhood earlier in the night. Also, in April, four different buildings housing African migrants in south Tel Aviv were hit by firebombs.

During a cabinet meeting on Monday morning, the Population, Immigration and Border Authority presented Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with figures indicating what they say has been a marked decrease in the number of illegal migrants entering Israel, as a result of the continued construction of the 205-km. Egypt border fence.

According to PIBA, over the course of July, 248 migrants illegally entered Israel, as opposed to 1,000 in June and around 2,000 in May. They added that all those who entered were arrested and are currently detained in Israel Prisons Services facilities.

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