Two Jewish Israelis, one of them an off-duty soldier, have been charged with terror offenses over their alleged role in riots that followed a deadly Palestinian terror attack in Samaria late last month, the Central District Attorney’s Office announced on Wednesday.
The indictments were filed after a joint investigation by the Israel Police and Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), added the attorney’s office.
Israel Defense Forces conscript Yedidya Siani, 22, reportedly a resident of Hinanit in northern Samaria, was charged with an act of terror under aggravated circumstances, racially motivated assault that caused injury, racially motivated rioting and racially motivated vandalism during clashes in the Palestinian town of Umm Safa.
On June 24, several dozen masked Israelis set fire to homes and cars in the village, which lies north of Ramallah. The events took place shortly after four Israelis were killed and four others wounded in a Hamas terror attack near Eli in the Binyamin Region.
The two terrorists responsible for the murder of Harel Masood, Ofer Fairman, Elisha Anteman and Nachman Shmuel Mordoff came from the town of Urif, near Shechem (Nablus).
Dor Oved, 30, from the Samaria community of Yitzhar, is alleged to have been part of a group of rioters that entered Urif on June 21. He was charged with a terrorist act of rioting resulting in damage, a terrorist act of particular damage and a terrorist act insulting a religion.
Among other accusations, authorities suspect Oved of breaking into a local mosque, destroying furniture, throwing holy books on the floor and breaking windows. Video footage of the incident showed a man, alleged to be Oved, taking a number of Qurans outside the mosque, tearing pages from them and tossing them on the ground.
The Honenu legal aid organization, representing both suspects, claimed Oved suffered “emotional and physical abuse” during his investigation by the Shin Bet. Siani, through attorney Nati Rom, denied all involvement and said he was wrongly identified as one of the perpetrators.
Prosecutors requested that Oved and Siani be held until the end of proceedings.
Israeli politicians have denounced the recent anti-Arab violence in Judea and Samaria, with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant saying he “strongly condemns the violence that led to the burning of houses and vehicles in the village of Umm Safa. This is not our way.”
Last month, 12 Israelis were arrested in connection with the riots, according to the Israel Police.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, Shin Bet Director Ronen Bar and Israel Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai said in a joint statement, “These attacks contradict every moral and Jewish value; they constitute, in every way, nationalist terrorism, and we are obliged to fight them.”