Police said on Thursday they would charge a Jewish teenager with aggravated assault for stabbing four Arab men in the southern city of Dimona earlier in the month.
After a two-week investigation, police formulated the charges based on evidence gathered, and were expected to seek to remand the suspect in custody, the Hebrew-language news site Walla reported.
“The police takes very seriously any attempt to injure another person, doubly so when [the attack] has an ethnic or nationalistic background, and will show zero tolerance toward any such attempts,” said Israel Police Negev District commander Amnon Elkalai.
The attack, which took place on October 9, saw the accused stab one man at a shopping center and then advance to another location next to a local school, where he stabbed three others. A security guard then tackled and restrained him until police arrived.
At the time, police termed the attack “nationalistic,” indicating that it was likely a retaliation for a spate of Palestinian attacks against Israelis, which have exacerbated Arab-Jewish tensions.
Questioned immediately after the attack, the suspect said he had stabbed the four because they were Arabs, and claimed he thinks “all Arabs are terrorists.”
The stabber’s attorney, far-right activist Itamar Ben Gvir, says his client suffers from mental health issues and was under the influence of drugs during the attack, the report said.
Two men were moderately to seriously wounded in the attack, while two other victims were treated for light wounds, the Magen David Adom first-aid service and police said.
Abdallah al-Mahdi, 20, a resident of a Bedouin community in the Negeav, was working at a building site when he was attacked and stabbed in the back. Released from that hospital, al-Mahdi is undergoing rehabilitation.
On Wednesday he spoke about his feelings since the attack.
“I still feel don’t feel well since my injury, I am afraid to go out of my house alone. I’m afraid,” he told Walla. “It will take me time to shake it off. I was lying in the hospital for three days. I still don’t know if I’ll return to work in Dimona. I suffer from very strong pains.”
He said that over three years working in Dimona, he enjoyed good relations with the Jews of the city.
“I didn’t believe that this would happen to me and that a Jew would stab me,” he said. “I was surprised that it was a Jew who stabbed me. I couldn’t believe it.”
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.