Case closed against suspected serial attacker in Yaffo, Honenu appealed

Screenshot of May 12 attack; Video courtesy of photographer

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Monday, October 11, 2021, 10:57 The Tel Aviv District Attorney’s office has decided to close an investigative case against Omar Kazzaz, despite evidence implicating him in two assaults on Jews in Yaffo within a week. A helmet-wearing motorcyclist carried out the assaults, and in the investigation the police gathered evidence that led to Kazzaz. Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher, who is representing the injured parties, appealed the decision.

The assaults occurred in May, at the time of the Arab rioting during Operation Guardian of the Walls. On May 7, Sh. was assaulted near Clock Tower Square in Yaffo, at the entrance to a surf shop. As he was arranging his things, a Kawasaki motorcycle stopped next to him. A motorcyclist wearing black shoes with white lettering looked at him and then continued on his way. Several minutes later, the motorcyclist returned and asked Sh., “What are you doing like this next to a mosque?” Then he hit Sh. in the face with his helmet and tried to hit him again. Sh. was evacuated by ambulance to the hospital for medical treatment. Two days later, he filed a complaint with the police, who launched an investigation.

Five days later, the second attack was carried out in the same area of Yaffo, near the boardwalk. As a 50-year-old man, L., and his 24-year-old son, Y were driving, suddenly and for no apparent reason, a Kawasaki motorcycle with the same license plate as in the first assault blocked them. The motorcyclist approached their car, and when L. got out to protect his son, he hit L. hard with his helmet, and pulled the catheter that L. had in his arm due to a previous injury. The motorcyclist also beat L. and kicked him the stomach.

Another motorcyclist who joined the first pepper sprayed L. and the interior of the car, where Y. and two dogs were sitting. The beginning of the incident was documented on the car’s camera, but the actual assault was not. Passers-by who witnessed the attack called an ambulance and the police. L. and Y. suffered difficulty breathing due to the pepper spray and L.’s previous injury required medical treatment. L. and Y. filed complaints with the police, who detained a suspect by the name of Omer Kazzaz, and released him several days later. Recently, it became know that the Tel Aviv District Attorney closed the case.

The second attack; Video credit: Courtesy of photographer (victims’ car camera)

L. made a statement: “We were very disappointed to hear from the [Tel Aviv] District Attorney’s office that the case has been closed. Every day that the attacker walks free, the Yaffo Boardwalk is not safe, the Yaffo Boardwalk is in danger. We hope very much that the case will be reopened and that the assailant will be penalized. It’s crazy to be walking around and not feel secure in our own country.”

Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher, who is representing the victims, wrote in the appeal to reopen the case: “This is a serious incident. There were two extremely similar assaults, each involving the same motorcycle, ridden by the same Arab motorcyclist who assaulted Jews with his helmet, in the same area, during the same week. It appears that there is a serial attacker of Jews,” and warned that releasing the assailant would allow him to continue assaulting Jews.

The motorcycle ridden by the assailant belongs to Kazzaz and claims that other motorcyclists use it have been refuted, which strengthens the suspicion that Kazzaz is the assailant. Additionally, Kazzaz has a rich criminal record, and the locator on his cell phone revealed that he was near the site of the assault several minutes after it occurred.

Additional points made in the appeal increase the suspicion that Kazzaz is the assailant: His body build and eye brows match those of the assailant documented in the video clip. Four days after the second assault, objects – a helmet, a shirt, a backpack, and a pair shoes – identical to those belonging to the assailant were found in a search of his home. Also, Kazzaz is barely cooperating with the investigation.

“The accumulation of a wealth of evidence is enough to tip the scales and form a critical mass, enough to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that this is the man who assaulted the appellants,” wrote Bleicher in the appeal.

Additionally, Bleicher demanded that Kazzaz’s palm veins be mapped and compared to those of the assailant, which are visible in the video clip, as forensic evidence. “The appellants are aware that this is not a standard procedure, however they are of the opinion that, in this case, it is appropriate to use it and all other possible findings. Every effort must be made to incriminate the terrorist, because it is obvious that he is an uninhibited, violent suspect with terrorist motives.”

In the conclusion of the appeal, Bleicher demanded that the case be reopened: “Closing the case without investing all of the available resources, including non-standard resources, will lead to endless tragedy. The appellants have demanded that the case be reopened and that all means possible be used to bring the terrorist to trial. Beyond the want and need to penalize the terrorist, there is an urgent need to neutralize the great danger lurking because a terrorist is walking free.”

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