Prosecutors filed terror charges Sunday against a resident of Acre over the deadly firebombing of a hotel in the northern city in May, which had come amid violent clashes between Jews and Arabs as Israel fought against Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip.
Hassan Eid, 27, was charged at Haifa District Court with arson as an act of terror and rioting with a racist motive.
However, he was not charged with causing the death of a guest in the hotel who died as a result of the fires in the building.
According to prosecutors, Eid used a rock on May 11 to smash the famed Efendi hotel’s glass door, then poured flammable material inside, and set it alight.
A statement from prosecutors noted other suspects later threw Molotov cocktails into the hotel.
“The actions of the defendant and others led to the conflagration in the hotel’s reception room, which abated after a few minutes. After the fire subsided, others arrived at the hotel with the knowledge that it was under Jewish ownership, and sowed more destruction out of a racist motive,” the statement said.
Seven other suspects have been also charged in the case, but none with the death of hotel guest Aby Har Even, 84, who was hospitalized in critical condition after suffering from burns and smoke inhalation.
Har Even, a former leader of Israel’s space program and a winner of the prestigious Israel Prize, succumbed to his wounds in the hospital several weeks later.
The seven indicted suspects were accused of entering the hotel and destroying furniture, equipment, dishes, and security cameras. But none of those individuals are believed to have set the fire that killed Har-Even in a different area of the hotel.
Hundreds of indictments have been filed against Jews and Arabs over days of May rioting in which mobs on each side attacked members of the opposite ethnicity, in a rash of violence not seen in decades. The tensions were partially fueled by war with Gaza-based terrorists and violent pro-Palestinian protests in Jerusalem.
Acre was a flashpoint of the ethnic tensions and more than a dozen Jewish-owned businesses were vandalized in the city.
The Efendi Hotel has since reopened.