Two Arab suspects arrested for assaulting Israeli soldier and stealing his weapon

Four other Arab residents of northern Israel arrested for aiding the men suspected of attacking an IDF soldier who was alone on a night training exercise.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Two suspects who stole an IDF soldier’s weapon after a late night fist fight in the dark appeared in court Monday after they were arrested following a four-day manhunt, Ynet reported.

In addition to the two men, police also arrested four other suspects who assisted the two after the act and allowed them to hide in their home.

At the Monday morning hearing in the Magistrate’s Court in Acre it was revealed that one of the Arab suspects, Muhammad Abu Kamir, 26, actually served in the IDF, Ynet reports. The name of the second suspect, who is a relative of Kamir, was not released.

The suspects in the assault and theft attacked the a member of the elite Egoz commando unit Wednesday night while he was alone on a night navigation exercise in the Haruvia forest near the Arab city of Shefar’am. After a five minute struggle, the two men managed to overpower the soldier and escape with his weapon.

“The soldier struggled with the suspects in a very tough manner, and his conduct helped the most at least in the investigative aspect,” police deputy inspector Gil Meshulam told Ynet.

“He fought and did not give up, and thanks to his struggle we already knew the next day about the identities of the suspects,” Meshulam said, adding that “the investigation is still in its infancy. I can say that the two main suspects certainly have a criminal record, including in areas related to [illegal] weapons.”

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Meshulam said the fight against illegal weapons in the Israeli Arab sector is a top priority for law enforcement.

“We are waging a stubborn struggle. There is no case in which we do not do the maximum possible with all the capability of the police,” Meshulam said.

Although the soldier tried to fight off the attackers and raised the alarm right after the attack, the commander of the Egoz unit reportedly wrote to his subordinates that “an Egoz fighter who does not know how to defeat two people with krav maga [IDF martial arts technique] and has his weapon snatched – cannot be an Egoz fighter.”

The IDF spokesperson’s office issued a statement afterwards saying that the officer had made a mistake in sending that message.