Israeli Police Officers Attacked in Kafr Kassem

YERUSHALAYIM -
View of the Israeli-Arab town of Kafr Kassem. (Moshe Shai/FLASH90)

Several Israel Police officers were attacked in Kafr Kassem by members of the city’s internal security forces on Thursday night after they entered the city during an arrest operation.

Two police officers were wounded during the incident after they attempted to enter the city hall following reports of a violent incident within the building.

Upon attempting to gain access to the hall, the police officers were approached by members of the city’s internal security group, known as Al-Hirasa, which belongs to the Islamic Movement. The incident quickly turned violent, according to reports, and the officers were kicked, beaten and choked, which can be seen in a video of the incident that has subsequently been shared across social media.

According to news reports, Al-Hirasa are well known to Israel’s police forces, and have been described as “a kind of internal police or security force in Kafr Kassem, some are former criminals. The volunteers dress in civilian clothes and travel in private vehicles. In the past they also functioned as a kind of modesty police.”

The two police officers were lightly injured during the attack and, along with one other person, received medical treatment at the scene of the incident.

Over the course of the weekend, two suspects were arrested with the help of police camera documentation. The two suspects were named to be 38-year-old Asslam Taha and 24-year-old Hamada Assi.

The men were arrested on suspicion of assault during an arrest, assaulting a police officer, joint assault with the aim of preventing arrest, and aggravated assault.

Speaking about the events in Kafr Kassem, Police Chief Kobi Shabtai stated that “violence against police officers, such as the events in Kafr Kassem, will not be on the agenda. I have instructed the district and area commanders to act decisively and firmly and catch everyone who took part in the event. We will provide them with all the means and forces that will be required.”

Opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu said, “I strongly condemn the attacks on police officers in Kafr Kassem. When the Bennett government is dependent on [United Arab List Chairman MK] Mansour Abbas and the Muslim Brotherhood, criminals in the Arab sector lift their heads and dare to harm our police officers. This is the crossing of a red line, which we must not ignore. We must bring to full justice anyone who was involved in this criminal act of violence.”

“If a similar incident had occurred in Yitzhar, they would have fired live bullets. When it’s residents from Kafr Kassem, there is no justice and no judge,” MK Itamar Ben Gvir (Otzma Yehudit) commented. “This is racism for its own sake. It’s shameful and an embarrassment.”

Commentators also noted the difference between this event and the attack against police officers last year in Bnei Brak, when groups of police emerged on the city, trying to locate the perpetrators.