The Tel Aviv District Prosecutor’s Office filed charges on Tuesday against Daniel Karai, 18, of Tiberias, and three other young men, for an attack on Hassan Usruf, a municipal street cleaner for the city of Tel Aviv who was working on the boardwalk over the Purim holiday.
The defendants are accused of causing bodily injury with aggravated circumstances. Though the charges do not list it as a motivation, Usruf said the attack was nationalistic in nature, claiming they told him, “You’re an Arab? You want a state?”
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According to the indictment, the four young men went out to celebrate Purim getting drunk on Frishman Beach. Around morning, they realized their bags were gone, along with their mobile phones. They decided that Usruf, a street cleaner who by chance was in the area, was the thief, and they overwhelmed him with a beating. One of the attackers said, “If I had a knife, I would have stabbed him.”
The oldest of the attackers, Karai, broke a glass bottle on Usruf’s head, pummeled him with his fists, broke his nose and sat on him as he continued punching him. The other members of the group, all minors joined Karai, kicking and punching Usruf until he collapsed on the sidewalk.
A witness in the area yelled for help, putting a stop to the attack. “The others had joined in,,, they all fell on top of him, hit him furiously, kicked him,” the witness said. Usruf remained unconscious in a puddle of blood and the attackers ran from the scene.
Suspects in court (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
During questioning, one of the teens admitted to his part in the attack and said, “I hit him as much as I could…if I had a knife I would have stabbed him.” He told how everyone beat Usruf. “He lay down and got up, lay down and got up, and yelled out in pain.”
Another minor said he kicked the worker in the stomach, as he lay on the ground bleeding. The two teens even got into an argument during their police questioning, with one telling the other, “I beat him more than you.”
Usruf was taken to Sourasky Medical Center. He underwent surgery and remained hospitalized for ten days. In an interview with Ynet, he said, “They beat me because I am Arab.” He continued, “I was walking around with a water-filled container to wash the street.
"Suddenly a large group (of Jews) approached. 'You're and Arab,' they yelled. 'You want a state? Is that what you want?' I told them 'relax,' and then they grabbed me and began to hit me. One of them hit me in the head with a bottle. I fell to the ground, and they took turns kicking and hitting me. I shouted, 'We are all brothers. For me there are no Jews or Arabs.'"
The four defendants were charged with causing bodily injury under aggravated circumstances. Tzahi Havdali, a lawyer with the Tel Aviv District Prosecutor’s office has requested they be remanded through the end of proceedings.
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