Arab Israeli arrested for shooting at cops during May’s unrest

An Arab Israeli was arrested for opening fire toward police officers in Umm al-Fahm during ethnic unrest that rocked the country last month, the Shin Bet security service and police announced Friday.

The suspect, 35-year-old Muhammad Mahdi Aghbaria from the northern village of Mu’awiya, fired a handgun toward officers as they were attempting to quell violent riots near the entrance to Umm al-Fahm on May 15, according to a joint statement.

When forces came to arrest Aghbaria, police said he threw roof tiles at officers from the roof of his home, resulting in injuries.

The Shin Bet said the investigation revealed he had a “nationalistic” motive for carrying out the shooting. He also turned in the gun he used, the statement said.

Aghbaria was charged with committing terrorist acts with intent to harm, using a weapon for terrorism purposes, and “a terrorist act of attempted murder,” according to the indictment filed at the Haifa Magistrate’s Court.

Israeli border police patrol the streets of the central Israeli city of Lod after riots. May 19, 2021 (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

On Thursday, the Shin Bet security service and police also announced several Arab Israelis were arrested for attacking Jews during last month’s unrest. That announcement came after the security service and police revealed that seven Jewish Israelis from Herzliya and the surrounding area were arrested for their alleged involvement in an attack on an Arab man during last month’s rioting.

The violence in ethnically mixed cities and other parts of Israel, which erupted as the Israel Defense Forces and Palestinian terror groups engaged in 11 days of intense fighting in the Gaza Strip, was the most serious internal unrest to grip the country in years.

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