Jerusalem police on Saturday arrested five minors suspected of attacking an Arab man for nationalistic reasons three days earlier.
Three of the suspects, all 16 years old, reportedly admitted to the attacks and told investigators that they thought they were saving a Jewish woman from being taken advantage of.
Ibrahim Abu Ta’a, 28, told police that he was beaten by a group of Jews in the capital’s Katamon neighborhood early Thursday morning after they saw him trying to help a woman he had driven home following a work party.
Abu Ta’a was taken to Shaare Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem with light injuries, including a broken leg.
On Saturday afternoon, police arrested three minors in connection with the attack, and brought another two into custody later that night.
One of the suspects was remanded into custody until Monday, police said late Saturday.
Abu Ta’a painted the attack as nationalistic, saying he was only attacked once they heard his name Ibrahim.
“They didn’t attack any of my Jewish friends,” he said.
Abu Ta’a said the attack occurred after a staff party for employees of the Mamilla Hotel held at the Jerusalem nightclub Ha’uman 17, when he gave an intoxicated female colleague a ride home.
When they got out of the car near her apartment, the woman stumbled, and a group of passers-by apparently thought that he was sexually assaulting her, he said.
“Six or seven men came up to us and asked, ‘What’s going on here?’” Abu Ta’a told Maariv. “My friend said ‘Ibrahim talk to them,’ and when they heard that my name is Ibrahim, they attacked me.”
The incident comes less than a month after a gang of Jewish youths attacked and seriously injured 17-year-old Jamal Julani in downtown Jerusalem on August 17, allegedly because he was an Arab. Nine teenagers, eight of them minors, were indicted in late August for that attack.