Suspected far-right attack leaves five Israeli anti-government protesters hospitalised with stab wounds

Suspected far-right attack leaves five Israeli anti-government protesters hospitalised with stab wounds
Two demonstrators were stabbed in the neck after suspected members of a far-right group attacked a protest outside the Israeli police chief's home with broken bottles and pepper spray.
2 min read
29 July, 2020
Anti-Netanyahu protesters gathered outside the public security minister's home on Tuesday [Getty]
A suspected Israeli far-right group infiltrated a demonstration outside the home of the country's police chief on Tuesday, attacking protesters with broken bottles, chairs and pepper spray, according to local media.

Five demonstrators were taken to hospital, two with stab wounds to their necks.

The attack targeted a rally outside the Tel Aviv residence of Public Security Minister Amir Ohana, after he was recorded instructing police to step up operations against the anti-Netanyahu demonstrations that have swept the city in recent days.

The attackers are thought to belong to the so-called La Familia, an extremist group connected to fans of football team Beitar Jerusalem.

Demonstrators speaking out after the attack said the police ignored their calls for help and only arrived at the scene later on in the evening after clashes had broken out.

"They came to murder us. Where are the cops? My friend was attacked with a bottle to his head and they sprayed mace in my face," one demonstrator told Haaretz

The group was blamed for a similar attack on a demonstration against Netanyahu in Jerusalem last week.

Protests have been ongoing for the past few weeks, sparked by what critics see as a government failure to handle the coronavirus crisis after initially keeping the threat of the virus at bay. Corruption charges against Netanyahu have further fuelled the demonstrations.

Read also: Coronavirus crisis sparks a young Israeli anti-government protest movement

After what has been called a hasty and erratic reopening of the economy in May, infections shot up with the average number of new cases daily at 2,000. The country's economy has been battered by virus restrictions and the unemployment rate has skyrocketed to nearly 20 percent.

Netanyahu and his allies have slammed the protesters as "anarchists", with Public Security Minister Amir Ohana warning on Sunday that the protests could lead to "bloodshed". 

The protesters have made repeated calls on the authorities to protect them following a spate of attacks on demonstrators by pro-government gangs.

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