First Indictment Handed Down in Tishah B’Av Lynch Attempt

Israeli police seen in Yerushalayim’s Old City. (Reuters/Ammar Awad)

A first indictment was handed down, and five more suspects were arrested in the case of a near-lynch of an Israeli driver who accidentally drove on a heavily-trafficked street outside the Old City of Yerushalayim. The indictment was handed down against a 17-year-old who was actively involved in damaging the driver’s vehicle and attempting to drag him from the vehicle.

The incident occurred Motzoei Shabbos, as Tishah B’av was beginning. The Israeli driver was ambushed as as he drove. on Sultan Suleiman Street, which runs parallel to the main north-south road that passes the Old City. Video that surfaced later showed a gang of Arabs surrounding the Israeli vehicle, which was traveling slowly due to traffic. They began pelting the vehicle with stones, and attempted to pull the door off the vehicle and pull the driver out of it. B’chasdei Shamayim, a police officer happened by, and assessing the situation, he fired in the air, dispersing the mob. The driver was taken to a nearby hospital with light injuries as police officers began a pursuit of the culprits. Two suspects were arrested. The vehicle was badly damaged.

Channel 20 reported that later that night a second, similar incident occurred in the same area – but this time, the person in the vehicle was a foreign tourist, not an Israeli. Police intervened in this incident as well. The vehicle was damaged by rocks thrown by rioters, while the passenger was treated for shock. Police were able to identify the arrested suspects from the video, and tracked them down, arresting them at their homes.

In a statement Tuesday, police said they were continuing their investigation in order to bring all perpetrators to justice. More arrests are expected.

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