'Assault on Haifa soldiers like Ramallah lynching'

Police say the attack seems to have been nationalistically motivated.

hospitalized soldier at Rambam, Haifa_150 (photo credit: Channel 10)
hospitalized soldier at Rambam, Haifa_150
(photo credit: Channel 10)
A judge presiding over the remand hearing for a group of young men suspected of carrying out vicious assault on two off-duty soldiers in Haifa compared their alleged acts to the 2000 beating to death of two IDF soldiers in Ramallah.
Judge Zaid Falah of the Haifa Magistrate’s Court extended the custody of six Arab Israeli suspects by five days. A seventh suspect was arrested by police on Sunday.
Although the suspects claimed during questioning that the attack was a case of mistaken identity, the police representative to the court argued that the attack bore hallmarks of a nationalistically motivated incident.
He added that the letters “PLO” in Hebrew were etched on the head of one of the victims with a sharp object.
Earlier on Sunday, during questioning at a Haifa police station, the suspects denied targeting Jews, saying that rocks had been thrown at their home adjacent to the Rambam Medical Center, and that they had set out to see who was behind the attack.
The suspects attacked the two soldiers, who were in civilian clothing, believing them to be the rock-throwers, they added.
The two soldiers arrived at the Rambam Medical Center late on Friday night after one of them felt ill.
“They [the soldiers] parked their vehicle at the entrance to the hospital. Another vehicle stopped in front of them. One of the occupants was drunk,” the uncle of one of the soldiers was quoted as saying in a Channel 2 report.
“The men in the vehicle asked the two men if they were Jews. They started assaulting them with clubs, rocks and planks of wood they found in the area,” the uncle added.