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2 convicted in brutal beating of off-duty soldier in Jaffa during May 2021 unrest

Mohammed Ayiash found guilty of incitement to terror and violence, Wali Misri of aggravated assault; victim underwent intense rehab for wounds

Leon Shranin, 19, was seriously wounded by an Arab mob amid rioting in Jaffa, May 2021. (Screenshot: Channel 13)
Leon Shranin, 19, was seriously wounded by an Arab mob amid rioting in Jaffa, May 2021. (Screenshot: Channel 13)

Two Arab Israelis were convicted by the Tel Aviv District Court on Sunday as part of a plea deal after they admitted taking part in the beating of an off-duty soldier in Jaffa during nationwide unrest in May 2021.

Mohammed Ayiash, 23, was convicted of incitement to terror and violence in the case. Prosecutors will seek a sentence of 22 months in prison, a suspended sentence and a fine. Ali Misri, 20, was convicted of aggravated assault. Prosecutors will seek a five-year prison sentence, a fine, and compensation for the wounded soldier.

Leon Shranin, 19 at the time, was left in serious condition after he was beaten on May 13, during a wave of unrest in mixed Jewish-Arab communities. The attackers were only deterred after passersby intervened and called rescue services.

Shranin suffered a skull fracture and a cerebral hemorrhage, Ichilov Medical Center in Tel Aviv said, and required lengthy rehabilitation for his injuries.

According to the indictment, Ayiash called on members of a WhatsApp group, “Breaking News Jaffa Arabic,” to come to Jaffa’s Jerusalem Boulevard on the day of the attack. Others in the group encouraged each another to bring weapons such as explosives and gas canisters.

Border Police in Jaffa, near Tel Aviv, during a time of violent riots between Jews and Arabs across Israel. May 11, 2021. (Avshalom Sassoni/FLASH90)

Misri spotted Shranin on the street and was part of the mob that attacked him, the indictment said. Ayiash was present at the scene afterward, when he recorded a video of the unconscious soldier and uploaded it later to the WhatsApp group.

“He’s finished, here it’s after he got beaten, and he’s finished, he can’t move,” Ayiash said in the footage.

Three others were originally suspected of participating in the assault, but charges against them were eventually dropped.

The attack on Shranin came during a period of unrest in May 2021 that saw the worst violence between Jewish and Arab communities in decades. Amid intense fighting with Gaza and tensions in Jerusalem, Israel’s ethnically mixed Jewish and Arab communities erupted in mob violence, which police failed to contain.

In the weeks after the violence simmered down, police followed up with a major operation to apprehend suspects for involvement in the violence that led to the arrest of over 1,550 people, the majority of them Arab Israelis. More than 150 indictments have been filed.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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