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Shin Bet says 3 more suspects indicted over 2021 mob assault of Jewish man

Arrests over past two months bring to 8 the number of suspects in attack on Mor Ganashvili, who suffered serious injuries in Acre beating

Suspects in the mob attack of a Jewish man in Acre, May 2021.
Top row L-R: Hissam Awad, Ayman Zalfi, Muhammad Hamaad, Rani Piran, 
Bottom row L-R: Adham Bashir, Qusay Abbas, Salah Majid
Suspects in the mob attack of a Jewish man in Acre, May 2021. Top row L-R: Hissam Awad, Ayman Zalfi, Muhammad Hamaad, Rani Piran, Bottom row L-R: Adham Bashir, Qusay Abbas, Salah Majid

The Shin Beit security service revealed Wednesday that it had indicted a further three suspects in a mob attack on Jewish man in Acre last year that left the victim, Mor Ganashvili, with life-threatening injuries.

They were all arrested over the past two months, the Shin Bet said in a statement.

The three, all residents of Acre, are Muhammad Hamaad, 25, Hissam Awad, 31, and Salah Majid, 28. Indictments were filed Wednesday against Awad and Majid while Hamaad was charged in August.

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, 2021.

During the course of the investigation it was found that the three suspects participated in other rioting during the period of unrest in addition to the attack on Ganashvili, the Shin Bet said.

The arrests bring to eight the total number of suspects arrested or prosecuted in the assault on Ganashvili, who was beaten with iron bars and other blunt instruments that rendered him unconscious and left him with two brain hemorrhages and internal bleeding, among numerous other injuries.

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

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

Several others have been charged or convicted over the past year in relation to the assault on Ganashvili.

Last week, Ayman Zalfi, 29, 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.

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

In May 2021, Qusay Abbas, 22, and Adham Bashir, both residents of the city, were arrested and charged for participating in the attack on Ganashvili. Bashir was convicted in February after admitting to terrorism charges and rioting. He has not yet been sentenced. Abbas’s trial is ongoing.

Also in February, Acre resident Bilal Hilwani was convicted of egging on the rioters to attack Ganashvili, and in March he was sentenced to a year in prison.

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

According to court documents, the suspects were among masked rioters 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 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.

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.

The Shin Bet noted Wednesday that even more than a year after the rioting it is continuing to investigate cases of terrorism during that period.

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