2 Arab residents of Lod indicted for shooting of Jewish man during May violence

Amsalem Hasouna and Iyad Hasouna charged with ‘serious’ offenses; are relatives of Mousa Hasouna, who was shot to death in the city a few days earlier in disputed circumstances

Police are seen in Lod during ethnic rioting in the mixed Jewish-Arab city in central Israel, May 12, 2021. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)
Police are seen in Lod during ethnic rioting in the mixed Jewish-Arab city in central Israel, May 12, 2021. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Israeli security forces announced on Thursday the arrests of two residents of Lod in relation to a shooting in the city during a flare-up in violence in May.

Amsalem Hasouna and Iyad Hasouna, two Arab residents of Lod in their late 20s, have been arrested, according to the Shin Bet. The two men are relatives of Mousa Hasouna, who was shot to death in disputed circumstances a few days earlier.

The two men were indicted in Lod District Court for “serious offenses.” No further details were given in the statement.

The Shin Bet said that the shooting in question occurred on May 13 “during severe disturbances” during the 11-day conflict between Israel and Gaza, named Operation Guardian of the Walls. A Jewish civilian “was lightly-to-moderately wounded as a result of shots fired at a group of Jews on the street,” the security agency said.

The Israel Police and the Shin Bet carried out an investigation into the incident, and said that the two men were also involved in additional disturbances in Lod. The Shin Bet said it views “with utmost severity the involvement of Israeli citizens in terrorism,” and it will continue to investigate those involved in “all terrorist incidents” during the May violence.

But Arab citizens have alleged that Israel is pursuing Arab suspects much more doggedly than it is Jewish citizens who took part in the widespread violent clashes.

Malek Hasouna (L) carries a picture of his late son Mousa, who was shot dead on May 10, as he sits with Effi Yehoshua, brother of Yigal Yehoshua, killed on May 11, in Lod on August 18, 2021. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

In October, prosecutors cleared five suspects who had been arrested in connection with the shooting death of Mousa Hasouna.

Hasouna, 32, was shot dead on May 10 in Lod, three days before the incident for which his relatives were arrested took place. Four of the suspects were ruled out as being the culprits who fired the bullet, and a fifth was cleared since investigators said they could not determine with the required level of confidence who fired the bullet.

Malek Hasouna, Mousa’s father, told the Haaretz daily at the time that he was angry but not surprised that prosecutors cleared the suspects.

“It was clear they would close the case, they never intended to arrest anyone from the beginning,” he said. “When [Jewish Israeli] Yigal Yehoshua was killed [a day later], they arrested half the city and indicted many people… why didn’t they indict anyone for killing my son?”

In July, Malek spoke in the Knesset and begged for justice for Mousa. In September, he said that he didn’t believe police were taking the case seriously. “Israel makes a distinction that it’s very normal for an Arab to die in cold blood,” he claimed.

Eight suspects were arrested in the death of Yehoshua, a Jewish Lod resident killed in a rock-throwing attack in the city on May 11.

But security forces have also arrested Jewish suspects for their involvement in the violence in May. In July, a Jewish resident of Petah Tikva was arrested for the assault and stabbing of an Arab-Israeli man in Bat Yam in the parking lot of a mosque on May 12. And at least 13 Jewish suspects were arrested for the mob beating of Saeed Mousa in Bat Yam on May 12.

During the May Gaza conflict, a range of mixed Arab-Jewish cities were beset by some of the worst internal unrest in years. Lod emerged as an epicenter of violence, and clashes between Jewish and Arab civilians were seen throughout the 11-day war.

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