Soldiers nearly lynched by Arabs in Haifa
Two IDF soldiers in civilian clothing were viciously attacked by a group of Arab-Israeli men early Saturday near Haifa's Rambam Hospital, with guards deployed in the area narrowly averting a lynching.
Police forces detained four suspects on suspicion of taking part in the assault and expect to make more arrests.
The uncle of one of the soldiers said the assailants asked the victims whether they were Jewish before attacking them.
"They beat the hell out of them, using bats and stones, and resorting to kicks," the uncle said.
The soldiers attempted to escape in different directions, at which point some 20 attackers assaulted one of them, the uncle added.
"One of the attackers pounded my nephew's head against the ground and engraved his head with a knife," he said. "Security guards in the area arrived at the site, put him in a wheel chair, and evacuated him for treatment at the emergency room."
The violent incident took place around 2 am Saturday, when the two soldiers, who serve in the Air Force and Navy, parked near a convenience store.
According to relatives of the soldiers, one of the assailants involved in the attack warned the victims: "We'll come to visit you again, because you involved the police."
The soldiers sustained blows to various body parts, hospital officials said. One of them required facial x-rays in order to ascertain the damage he sustained. The officials added that guards at the medical facility heard screams nearby and rushed to the site of the incident while also calling the police.
The Haifa Police Commander, Moshe Cohen, said "the incident started as a brawl, apparently based on nationalistic motives…the probe continues and more suspects are expected to be arrested."
Israel Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino was briefed about the attack Saturday evening instructed top police chiefs to ensure that all attackers are detained and face the full severity of the law.
"We cannot treat this type of violent attack as a routine matter," Danino said.