5 Arab Lod residents indicted for participating in riots during Gaza conflict

Suspects charged with unlawful use of weapon, hurling Molotov cocktails at cars and homes and interfering with cops

A police patrol car on fire in the city of Lod, on May 12, 2021. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)
A police patrol car on fire in the city of Lod, on May 12, 2021. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Prosecutors filed an indictment on Thursday against five Arab Israeli residents of Lod, charging them with a series of criminal offenses over their alleged participation in violent riots throughout the mixed city during the May Gaza conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Moussa Hassouna (20), Muhammad Masri (30), Muhammad Hassouna (24), Ayub Hassouna (30) and Muhammad Elawer (25) were hit with several counts of illegally manufacturing, purchasing and firing a weapon, arson, and interference with a police officer under aggravated circumstances.

The suspects are either relatives or close friends of Moussa Hassouna, who was killed allegedly by a Jewish mob during the early days of the ethnic violence that tore through the country in May.

Police arrested four Jewish suspects after the shooting that killed Hassouna, but they argued they acted in self-defense and that Hassouna had been part of a mob that attacked them. The four Jewish suspects were subsequently released on bail and have yet to be charged.

According to the indictment filed in the Central District Court on Thursday, the Arab Israeli suspects’ criminal acts began at Hassouna’s funeral when they burned tires and trash cans, blocked roads and hurled stones at police who arrived at the scene.

Two of the suspects prepared Molotov cocktails in order to target Jewish residents of Lod, and one of them managed to throw a firebomb in the empty home of a Jewish family in the city, according to the indictment.

Arab Israelis protest against the shooting death of Musa Hassouna outside the Central District Court in Lod, on May 28, 2021. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

The suspects also allegedly hid in a Lod mosque 15 Molotov cocktails they had prepared and used them to torch parked cars in the city.

Hundreds of indictments have been filed against Jews and Arabs over days of rioting in which mobs on each side attacked members of the opposite ethnicity, in a rash of violence the likes of which hasn’t been seen in decades. The tensions were partially fueled by the conflict with Gaza-based terrorists and violent pro-Palestinian protests in Jerusalem.

Last week, four Jewish Israeli men were indicted over a brutal mob beating of an Arab Israeli man in the central city of Bat Yam in May.

Three adults were charged with committing an act of terror, as well as vandalism and rioting. A minor was charged with aggravated assault and racially motivated vandalism, the Ynet news site reported.

Saeed Mousa was seriously injured in the May attack, which was caught on live television.

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