Israeli Police officers attacked in Kafr Kassem

Two police officers were lightly injured during the incident after they attempted to enter the city hall following reports of a violent incident within the building.

  Israel Police during Birkat Kohanim ceremony during the Sukkot holiday in the Western Wall in Jerusalem, September 22, 2021. (photo credit: POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
Israel Police during Birkat Kohanim ceremony during the Sukkot holiday in the Western Wall in Jerusalem, September 22, 2021.
(photo credit: POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

Israel Police officers were attacked in Kafr Kassem by members of the city's internal security forces on Thursday night after they entered the city during an arrest operation.

Two police officers were lightly injured during the incident after they attempted to enter the city hall following reports of a violent incident within the building.

Upon attempting to gain access to the hall, the police officers were approached by members of the city's internal security group, known as Al-Hirasa, which belongs to the Islamic Movement. The incident quickly turned violent, according to reports, and the officers were kicked, beaten and choked, which can be seen in a video of the incident that has subsequently been shared across social media.

According to Walla, Al-Hirasa are well known to Israel's police forces, and have been described as "a kind of internal police or security force in Kafr Kassem... some are former criminals. The volunteers dress in civilian clothes and travel in private vehicles. In the past they also functioned as a kind of modesty police."

The two police officers were lightly injured during the attack and, along with one other person, received medical treatment at the scene of the incident. 

 View of the Israeli-Arab town of Kfar Kassem, near Tel Aviv. July 02, 2013.  (credit: MOSHE SHAI/FLASH90) View of the Israeli-Arab town of Kfar Kassem, near Tel Aviv. July 02, 2013. (credit: MOSHE SHAI/FLASH90)

Over the course of the weekend, two suspects were arrested with the help of police camera documentation, which was not made available for public viewing. The two suspects were named to be 38-year-old Asslam Taha and 24-year-old Hamada Assi.

The men were arrested on suspicion of assault during an arrest, assaulting a police officer, joint assault with the aim of preventing arrest, and aggravated assault.

Speaking about the events in Kafr Kassam, Police Chief Kobi Shabtai stated that "violence against police officers, such as the events in Kafr Kassem, will not be on the agenda. I have instructed the district and area commanders to act decisively and firmly and catch everyone who took part in the event. We will provide them with all the means and forces that will be required."

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also released a statement on Saturday night in which he condemned the incident.

"I stand by the police officers who were violently attacked in Kafr Kassem," it read. "The violence in Arab society has reached an unbearable point, we will fight it with all our might.

"I expect the Arab society, which asks the state to intervene, to give the police all the support and backing. We will reach out to the attackers and bring them to justice."