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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

File: Medics evacuate a man injured during riots in Acre, northern Israel, May 12, 2021. (Roni Ofer/Flash90)
File: Medics evacuate a man injured during riots in Acre, northern Israel, May 12, 2021. (Roni Ofer/Flash90)

An Arab Israeli man has been indicted on terror charges for 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.

Rani Piran, 28, a resident of Acre, was charged on Thursday with committing a terrorist act causing serious injury with aggravated intent, racially motivated rioting, arson, and a series of other offenses over several days.

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.

Piran is the fourth person to be indicted on terror offenses 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, 239 people have been indicted as of May 2022 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.

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

According to the indictment, Piran 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 Piran 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.

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.

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

Piran has also been charged with the arson of the Uri Buri restaurant in the old city of Acre on the night of May 11.

The indictment alleges that all of the offenses he was charged with were motivated by a nationalistic ideology.

Piran was arrested on June 20 and has been in custody since then. The State Attorney’s Office has requested that he remain in prison until the end of his legal proceedings.

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