Police admit that incident was attempted lynch

Monday, January 26, 2015, 15:35 On Saturday, January 3, rapid response squad members from Itamar and the adjacent Rekhes HaGidonim hilltop community and also IDF soldiers were called to the area of Itamar to search for a flock of sheep stolen from the adjacent hilltop community Givat Alumot. The flock was located, however during the searches a concern arose that Jewish children herding another flock had been kidnapped and therefore additional forces were called up for additional searches. During the searches hundreds of rioting Arabs from the village of Akrava approached and began to attack the security forces as they searched. According to the police two Arabs were shot during the incident. On Tuesday, January 20 an Itamar rapid response squad member and a Rekhes HaGidonim rapid response squad member were detained on suspicion of injuring the Arab rioters. The detainees gave testimony that they had shot into the air in order to extricate a soldier in an army Hummer who was being attacked by dozens of rioting Arabs. Only after Honenu attorney Adi Kedar filed appeals with the Lod District Court and the Israeli Supreme Court were the detainees released after being held two days in remand. On Sunday, January 25 two additional members of the Rekhes HaGidonim rapid response squad were detained and brought on the following day to a deliberation on their remand extension at the Petah Tikva Magistrate Court. Honenu attorney Uri Keinan represented them. They are suspected of involvement with the injury of two rioting Arabs, specifically causing injury in a racially motivated aggravated assault. During the course of the deliberation, for the first time since the beginning of the case, the police representative admitted that during the incident hundreds of Arabs attacked an IDF Hummer and almost lynched the driver; soldiers and rapid response squad members responded to the attack by firing into the air. Despite the admission the police requested that the remand of the two detainees be extended by five days. The detainees deny that they shot at the Arabs during the incident. During the deliberation Honenu attorney Uri Keinan demanded the release of the two detainees and objected to the detention of the rapid response squad members, one of whom returned from reserve duty at the border with Lebanon only a few days prior to his detention. Petah Tikva Magistrate Court Judge Amit Michaels ruled to release one of the detainees against whom the likelihood of there being a reasonable suspicion was, “extremely slight, if at all,” but nevertheless conditioned his release on a two-day complete house arrest. Judge Michaels extended the remand of the other detainee by two days. Honenu attorney Uri Keinan announced an appeal would be filed with the Lod District Court on the decision. “It is an embarrassment and a disgrace that the Israeli Police detain civilians who have volunteered for security work and came to help prevent the lynching of IDF soldiers,” said Keinan. “The court rejected most of the claims by the police and released one of the suspects. However I reason that there was cause to release also the other detainee. We will file an appeal on the decision to keep him in remand for 48 hours.”

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