Akko Car-Rammer Indicted on Terror Charges

YERUSHALAYIM -
Acco, Akko, Israel
An aerial view of Akko. (Itamar Grinberg)

Malak Yussuf Assadi, a 26-year-old resident of Shfaram, was indicted Thursday on charges of attempted murder while carrying out a terror attack. With the indictment, the question of whether Assadi’s attempt to run down four Israelis was a terror attack or the result of a personal issue was set aside, as the defense will now have to try and prove that Assadi did not intend to carry out a terror attack.

The incident for which Assadi was indicted occurred two and a half weeks ago, when he hit a Border Guard and two IDF soldiers in a car-ramming attack. Police said that Assadi began the attack after he received a ticket for driving violations. He first ran down a uniformed Border Guard and then continued on to the shuk area of the city, where he ran down two soldiers, also in uniform. Police originally chalked up the attacks to “road rage,” after the driver received a ticket for NIS 1,000, but later said that they had determined that the attack was motivated by nationalistic terror feelings on the part of the terrorist.

Speaking to Hadashot News, the suspect’s attorney denied that terror was a factor. “I stress that this was not a terror attack. That Hamas took responsibility for this attack does not mean that my client is a member of Hamas. Neither he nor his family have any connection to Hamas, Islamic State, or any other terror group. We hope and believe that the truth will come out in court, and we will prove that this was an accident, not a terror attack,” the attorney said.

Footage of the incidents show that Assadi drove wildly and hit the two soldiers, and then drove some distance to carry out more car-ramming attacks. “It appears that the driver attempted to run down security personnel at several sites, specifically targeting individuals in uniform,” the Shin Bet said in its investigation of the incident. “As such, it is clear that the intent here was a terror attack.”