Shin Bet says eighth suspect indicted over 2021 mob assault of Jewish man

Charges filed against Asi Hourani for Acre attack on Mor Ganashvili, who suffered serious injuries

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Medics evacuate Mor Ganashvili, injured during a mob attack amid clashes between Arab and Jews in Acre, northern Israel, May 12, 2021. (Roni Ofer/Flash90)
Medics evacuate Mor Ganashvili, injured during a mob attack amid clashes between Arab and Jews in Acre, northern Israel, May 12, 2021. (Roni Ofer/Flash90)

The Shin Bet security service on Wednesday said an indictment had been filed against an eighth suspect in a mob attack in Acre in May 2021 that left the victim, Mor Ganashvili, with life-threatening injuries.

The riots in Acre were part of a series of violent inter-communal disturbances, particularly in 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.

The agency said Asi Mahmoud Salah Hourani, 50, a resident of Acre, was detained in recent weeks over the mob attack on the Jewish Ganashvili on May 12. An indictment was filed Wednesday, leading the Shin Bet to release details of the case.

The indictment of Hourani brought to eight the total number of suspects 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.

The Shin Bet said Hourani “took an active part” in the assault, and was therefore hit with terror charges.

Asi Mahmoud Salah Hourani, 50, arrested over a mob attack on a Jewish man in Acre in May 2021. (Shin Bet)

Several others have been arrested over the past year and a half in connection with the assault on Ganashvili.

On the night of May 12, masked rioters roaming the streets of Acre hurled stones, launched fireworks at police officers and destroyed public property, according to police and court documents.

Several suspects 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.

As Ganashvili drove past they hurled stones at his vehicle, which had Israeli flags on it, hitting it and smashing the windshield. Ganashvili lost control and crashed into a wall, also hitting an Arab youth who was standing there.

Mor Ganashvili, who was seriously injured in a mob assault in Acre in 2021, arrives for the sentencing of one of those who participated in the attack at the Haifa District Court, November 28, 2022. (Shir Torem/Flash90)

Ganashvili exited the vehicle but before he could escape was beaten by the mob. The attackers only stopped when a local sheikh arrived and told them to stop, and he was then rescued by Qassem.

Ganashvili’s car was set alight and destroyed.

Though not unprecedented, the internecine violence in May 2021 was some of the worst in Israel’s history, bringing to the surface long-simmering conflicts between Arab and Jewish Israelis.

The Shin Bet noted Wednesday that even nearly two years after the rioting it is continuing to investigate cases of terrorism during that period.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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