Police arrest ‘primary suspect’ in attack on Jewish diners in LA, will seek hate crime charges

Police in Los Angeles have arrested one of pro-Palestinian activistst that attacked a group of diners, while allegedly hurling anti-Semitic slurs. The man is suspected of assault, and may potentially face a hate crime charge.

The man, who Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) described as “one of the primary suspects in the assault and beating of several men" outside a restaurant in the Mid-City area of Los Angeles on Tuesday, was taken into custody on Saturday thanks to the tips provided by the public, LAPD said.

The suspect, who was not identified, did not resist arrest and is currently facing charges of assault with a deadly weapon. More charges can be pending, with police saying that the suspect may also face potential hate crime charges and asking that his bail be increased “due to crime being motivated by hatred.”

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The incident, that unfolded on Tuesday, saw an altercation between a group of pro-Palestinian protesters and one of the diners outside a sushi place. The videos that partially captured the showdown show a man picking up a metal post and brandishing it at the approaching group of people before he is overpowered and beaten on the ground. The alleged victim, identified only as M, told local media that he was out dining with four Jewish friends when a group of men from a passing convoy of cars yelled anti-Semitic and pro-Palestinian slogans at them. M allegedly shouted back, which ultimately resulted in him being attacked. M said that he was kicked on the head, pepper-sprayed and needed to be taken to hospital due to his injuries.  Another witness told CBSLA that before the brawl erupted, glass bottles were thrown at the tables from the cars. She said that some pro-Palestinian protesters then exited the vehicles and started running towards the tables, asking diners if they were Jewish. The fighting reportedly broke out after several of the people answered that they were indeed Jewish.

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The attack has been denounced both by The Anti-Defamation League, that offered a $5,000 reward for the information about the suspects, as well as drew condemnation from the Council on AMerican-Islamic Relations.

Police say it is now seeking to trace other suspects in the case.

Tensions between pro-Israel and pro-Palestine Americans skyrocketed amidst a 11-day conflict between Tel Aviv and Hamas-controlled Gaza, that was put on hold after Egypt-mediated ceasefire took effect early on Friday. The cross-border attacks, that saw the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) bombing multiple targets in Gaza in response to rocket launches, led to heavy casualties in the Palestinian enclave, which reported 248 deaths, including that of 66 children and 39 women. Nearly 2,000 people have been injured as the result of the Israeli strikes, according to the local health officials. Some 12 people were killed, including two children, in Israel during the same period.

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