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Indictments filed against Arab town’s hired private guards who assaulted cops

3 men charged with aggravated assault on an officer, resisting arrest and other more minor crimes linked to incident earlier this month in Kafr Qasim

A screen capture from video on October 1, 2021, shows a man assaulting a police officer outside the Kafr Qasim municipal building in central Israel. (Video screenshot)
A screen capture from video on October 1, 2021, shows a man assaulting a police officer outside the Kafr Qasim municipal building in central Israel. (Video screenshot)

Prosecutors on Sunday filed indictments against three private security guards from the Arab Israeli town of Kafr Qasim for assaulting police officers there earlier this month.

Police arrested four suspects last weekend following the assault incident in the northern town. The police officers had sought to enter Kafr Qasim’s city hall after receiving a report that someone had been violently taken into the building, but were denied entry by the security guards. A scuffle broke out and several cops were beaten and bloodied.

In a statement Sunday morning, state prosecutors said that three of the suspects — Islam Taha, Ali Issa and Hamda Assi — had been charged with aggravated assault of an officer, resisting arrest and a number of other minor crimes linked to the incident. There was no mention of the fourth individual arrested.

The indictment, filed with the Kfar Saba Magistrate’s Court, said the three were part of an organization hired by local leaders to maintain order in the town amid an increase in violent crime in the Arab community.

Prosecutors said the suspects prevented officers from entering the municipal building after police received reports that the group was responsible for a disturbance in the town, and then attacked the officers when they tried to force their way in.

In a video of the incident, the policemen could be seen arguing with Taha, who was apparently blocking the door to the building as the fight developed. At one point, one of the officers uses a taser on him.

Taha, apparently unfazed, then punched the officer in the face several times, causing him to fall to the ground, as others, including Issa, scuffled with another cop.

Shortly after, as two officers tried to detain Taha, Assi exited the building and could be seen assaulting officers, the charge sheet said.

Two officers and a police volunteer required medical treatment after the fight.

In response to the attack on the officers, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett last week condemned “violence in Arab society,” which he said had “reached an intolerable point.”

He tweeted: “We will fight it with all our strength. I expect the Arab community, which has been asking the state to intervene, to give police officers full backing and support.”

The incident came as police attempt to tackle a soaring wave of violent crime in the Arab community.

A 24-year-old man was killed by a stray bullet on Saturday evening in his home in the northern village of Ilut, the 97th fatality of violence in Arab society this year.

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