Israeli suspects in Hebron attack on Palestinian yet to be questioned

Israeli suspects in Hebron attack on Palestinian yet to be questioned

Law enforcement officials said to identify those involved in assault broken up by IDF soldier, some of them minors

Police have reportedly gone to the homes of several young Jewish men suspected of assaulting a Palestinian man in Hebron on Friday, but have yet to detain or question any of them.

According to Channel 12 news, the identities of perpetrators of the attack in the West Bank city of Hebron are known to the police, and law enforcement officers went to their homes on Saturday evening. However, none of the suspects were home, the report said.

Security sources told the outlet that subpoenas for the questioning of the suspects were left at their homes. There are currently no warrants for their arrests.

Some of the suspects are reportedly minors, which means that a court order will need to be obtained before they can be interviewed about the incident.

According to the Kan public broadcaster, four people were briefly detained on Saturday in connection with the incident, but were granted a conditional release.

An Israel Defense Forces soldier came to the Palestinian man’s aid during the violent confrontation, the army said.

The IDF’s initial investigation into the incident found that the attackers also assaulted the soldier, who struck back with punches before helping the man escape, then called for reinforcements, according to the Ynet news site.

Itamar Ben Gvir, a far-right lawyer and politician, said he was representing some of the suspects and had spoken to them on Saturday. He said he could not divulge specifics, but the suspects told him Palestinians threw rocks at them.

“This won’t be the first time Arabs in Hebron taunt Jews, then take out a camera,” Ben Gvir wrote on Twitter.

In video footage of the incident, a group of Israelis can be seen attacking the Palestinian, later identified as Ibrahim Bader, with one of them putting him in a headlock as others hit and kick him.

The soldier, from the infantry Golani Brigade, then runs toward the group, pushing one of the Israelis aside and trying to help Bader out of the headlock. The soldier then appears to be hit by the man he pushed, who he then briefly confronts.

The soldier then turns back to Bader, telling the man administering the headlock “to leave him,” which he does.

As the soldier escorts Bader to safety, some of the Israelis run after them. A number of them try to strike Bader, while the soldier continues to try to distance him from the group.

Bader later told Kan news he wished to “thank the soldier who helped me and kept them away from me.”

“The army needs to make sure they don’t attack someone else. These settlers need to be stopped,” he said.

“God sent him” to save my life, Bader told Channel 12, saying the attack on him was unprovoked.

Bader, a 31-year-old security guard and father of three, said he was on his way to work when he was attacked.

Human Rights Defenders, the Palestinian group that released the video Saturday, said the incident occurred on Shuhada Street in the Israeli-controlled part of the West Bank city.

“During the night there was friction between Israelis and Palestinians in Hebron that included the throwing of rocks and Molotov cocktails,” a statement from the army said.

“IDF soldiers who arrived at the scene dispersed the violent gathering,” the statement said, without elaborating further.

Security sources said the Israelis were residents of Jewish neighborhoods in Hebron and police had taken over the handling of the incident, Channel 12 news reported.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Saturday praised the actions of the soldier.

“The Golani soldier who defended a Palestinian resident of Hebron acted as every IDF soldier and commander is expected to,” Gantz wrote on Twitter. “The IDF is committed to the safety of civilians in every place it operates, and I trust the ranking commanders in the IDF will investigate the incident in an orderly manner.”

There were also four other suspected violent incidents in the city overnight, with the tires of Palestinian-owned vehicles punctured and several cases of rock-throwing, according to the Ynet news site.

Hebron, which is split into areas of Israeli and Palestinian Authority rule, has long been a flashpoint for violence.

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