Two suspects in mob attack on Eritrean get conditional release
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Two suspects in mob attack on Eritrean get conditional release

The Prison Service officers were filmed striking Haftom Zarhum, who died after being shot, beaten when mistaken for Beersheba terrorist

Memorial candles at a ceremony in Tel Aviv on October 21, 2015 to honor Haftom Zarhum, an Eritrean national who was killed in the Beersheba bus station attack. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Memorial candles at a ceremony in Tel Aviv on October 21, 2015 to honor Haftom Zarhum, an Eritrean national who was killed in the Beersheba bus station attack. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Two Israelis implicated in the brutal mob beating of an Eritrean man mistaken for a terrorist were granted conditional release by Beersheba Magistrate’s Court on Thursday morning.

The two, both employees of the Israel Prison Service, were arrested Wednesday along with two others and charged with aggravated assault for their involvement in the attack on 29-year-old Haftom Zarhum on Sunday. Zarhum died in the hospital shortly after he was shot and beaten in the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s terror attack in Beersheba central bus station.

The two have been released on bail and have been banned from making contact with the other suspects in the case, the Walla news website reported.

A clip filmed by a passerby shows the four repeatedly kicking Zarhum in the head, and one of them is also seen hitting him with a bench.

Haftom Zarhum, 29, died of his wounds on October 19, 2015 a day after he was shot and beaten by a mob that mistook him for an assailant in the terror attack in Beersheba on October 18 in which IDF soldier Omri Levy, 19, was killed. (Courtesy)
Haftom Zarhum, 29, died of his wounds on October 19, 2015 a day after he was shot and beaten by a mob that mistook him for an assailant in the terror attack in Beersheba on October 18 in which IDF soldier Omri Levy, 19, was killed. (Courtesy)

A forensic examination of Zarhum’s body concluded Wednesday that the cause of his death was the gunshot wounds he sustained and not the severe beating. Police had waited for the results of the autopsy before deciding what charge to file against the suspects.

One IDF soldier died and 11 other people were injured in the stabbing and shooting attack at the southern city’s crowded central bus station Sunday. Police named the terrorist as 21-year-old Muhanad Alukabi from near the Bedouin town of Hura, just east of Beersheba.

The attack on Zarhum met with widespread outrage, with the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reporting that he was shot “only because of the color of his skin.”

The head of the Israel Prison Service condemned the actions of its employees, saying that “violence contradicts the values of the organization.”

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