Five youths from Jerusalem were arrested over the past week on suspicion of kicking a young Palestinian boy and stealing his cellphone.
After launching an investigation into the incident, the police suspect that the attack was nationalistically motivated. Indeed, investigators believe that the perpetrators had already determined that the victim would be an Arab.
The youth who was attacked, a resident of East Jerusalem, did not require medical treatment. The arrests of two of the suspects were extended while a the third suspect was released on condition by the courts. The remaining two suspects were only arrested on Wednesday and discussions are due to be held as to whether their detention will be extended on Friday.
The incident took place on Saturday in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo, after which all those involved fled the scene and were all eventually arrested at a later date after an investigation was launched which included the analysis of CCTV footage. One of those arrested is a soldier in the Kfir brigade.
The suspects denied any connection with the attack with some of them claiming that they were far away from the scene during the attack while others said that there was a skirmish which was stopped after a short while.
The suspects also claim that there was no nationalistic motivation and that none of the evidence thus far compiled against them indicates that racist slogans were shouted during the fight.
During the evaluation of the suspects’ arrests however, the judge said there was reasonable suspicion that the motive was, in fact, nationalistic. The police have said that the investigation is ongoing.