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Arab Israeli man indicted on terror charges for Acre mob assault

Suspect accused of participating in a violent attack against a Jewish man in the northern town during the May 2021 riots; victim sustained life-threatening injuries

A car burns after being set on fire during riots in Acre, northern Israel, May 12, 2021. (Roni Ofer/Flash90)
A car burns after being set on fire during riots in Acre, northern Israel, May 12, 2021. (Roni Ofer/Flash90)

An Arab Israeli man was indicted Thursday on terror charges for allegedly participating in a mob attack against a Jewish resident of Acre during the May 2021 riots that left the victim, Mor Ganashvili, with life-threatening injuries.

Ayman Zalfi, 29, a resident of Acre, was charged in the Haifa District Court with committing a terrorist act, causing serious injury with aggravated intent, manufacturing weapons for terror purposes, racially motivated rioting and a series of other offenses.

The riots in Acre were part of a series of violent inter-communal disturbances, particularly in Israel’s mixed Jewish-Arab cities, that took place in the days following the outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza on May 10 last year.

Zalfi is the sixth person to be indicted for the attack on Ganashvili, who was beaten with iron bars and other blunt instruments that rendered him unconscious and left him with two brain hemorrhages, internal bleeding, and numerous other injuries.

Ganashvili was rescued by another Arab Israeli resident of Acre, nurse Fadi Qassem, who gave him first aid treatment and helped save his life before security forces and emergency medical services took him to the hospital.

In total, more than 240 people have been indicted so far for terror offenses during the May 2021 riots, of whom 15 percent are Jews and 85% are Arabs, according to figures from the State Attorney’s Office.

Medics evacuate an injured man during clashes between Arab and Jews in Acre, northern Israel, May 12, 2021. (Roni Ofer/Flash90)

According to the indictment, Zalfi was one of dozens of masked rioters who were roaming the streets of Acre on the night of May 12, throwing stones and launching fireworks at police officers and destroying public property.

They set up a roadblock using furniture and other objects, which Ganashvili encountered while driving to visit his mother, whom he was worried about due to the ongoing riots.

The rioters, including Zalfi according to the indictment, pelted Ganashvili’s car, which had Israeli flags on it, with stones and other objects, causing him to lose control and crash into a wall.

Mor Ganashvili, an Israeli who was assaulted by an Arab mob, at the Galilee Medical Center, May 14, 2021 (video screenshot)

Ganashvili got out of the car and tried to escape but was stopped and severely beaten by the mob, until he was rescued by Qassem.

In addition, Zalfi is charged with manufacturing dozens of Molotov cocktails to throw at Jewish residents, throwing stones at police, and destroying security cameras in the city.

Jeremy Sharon contributed to this report.

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