5 Israelis arrested for attacking Africans in TA

Police say in two cases, victims were actually Ethiopian Jews, including one who was robbed and was hospitalized after attack.

Immigration authorities check Africans' IDs 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner)
Immigration authorities check Africans' IDs 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner)
two minors, were arrested on Tuesday for carrying out attacks on Africans in south Tel Aviv.
In two cases, the victims were Ethiopian Jews, including one who was beaten and robbed of his cellphone in an attack that took place on the night of April 2. That victim was hit in the head and was hospitalized, though in the rest of the cases the victims were lightly hurt and did not need medical treatment, police said. It was not the first time an Ethiopian Israeli reported being attacked physically or verbally by people who mistook him for a migrant.
Altogether, police on Tuesday arrested five youths, including two boys aged 17 and three men aged 21, 19 and 18. The first four were taken for a remand extension on Tuesday and will stay in custody until at least Thursday.
The 18-year-old suspect was to be brought for a remand hearing on Wednesday evening.
None of the suspects is a soldier.
Police said they made the arrests after they received a tip.
It was unclear what drove the suspects to attack their victims, whether it was because of racism, or because they wanted to commit general mayhem and assumed foreigners would be less likely to go to police.
The attackers chose their victims at random, focusing on those they believed to be African migrants, police said.
In January, Eilat police arrested a group of four local males, including a soldier and a minor, who they said were linked to attacks and robberies of African migrants in the city over a period of two months.
In that case, all of the victims were robbed and required medical treatment. Following the arrests, police released a photo taken in the suspects’ car that showed a metal pole, pepper spray, a screwdriver, a knife, a chain and gloves, all of which they said were used in the attacks. The four suspects were indicted earlier this year and their trial is ongoing.
African migrants in south Tel Aviv have complained for at least a year that they are victims of periodic violence and harassment by Israelis. They say they are often unwilling to report the crimes because they are in the country illegally and could find themselves in a detention facility if they involve themselves with police.