Riots in the city of Lod
Riots in the city of LodYossi Aloni/Flash 90

The State Attorney's Office has decided to close, citing innocence, the investigation against four Jews suspected of shooting Moussa Hassouna, an Arab who rioted in Lod on May 11 during Operation Guardian of the Walls.

The Jews said in their interrogation that they were forced to fire their personal weapons to ward off masked rioters who attacked a large group of local residents and houses using rocks, batons and firebombs.

The findings of the police investigation into the matter were transferred to the State Attorney's Office, which decided to shelve the case.

The residents in question, on the first night of the riots in the city of Lod, went outside and used their own bodies to separate Arab crowd from the residents' homes, after the police were asked to come to the scene and were delayed in doing so. During the incident, the residents were attacked with rocks and firebombs, and were forced to fire in the air in order to keep the rioters away from the houses of the neighborhood. It was later alleged that one of the Arab rioters was wounded and died as a result of the shooting.

Attorney Adi Keidar of the Honenu legal aid organizations, who headed the defense team of most of the suspects, said, "We welcome the State Attorney's Office's announcement of the closure of the case against the residents. At the same time, we emphasize that this is an event that began with riots against Jews who defended themselves and I hope that the closure of this case is accompanied by lessons and conclusions, especially regarding the inconceivable situation in which the Israel Police literally abandoned those residents, who from the beginning cried for help and assistance, and when it did not arrive, they had to face a real danger to their lives, through measured and life-saving shooting."

"Unfortunately it took a long time that involved torture and a radical change in the families' life routine, including some of them who were forced to leave the city and the whole incident and investigations affected them and their families drastically. We hope something like this does not happen again and that conclusions and lessons are learned," added Keidar.

The State Attorney's Office stated that "after examining all the evidence in the case, the Central District Attorney's Office decided to close the investigation file regarding the death of Moussa Hassouna in the violent riots in Lod, in May this year, due to innocence."

"In relation to four of the suspects, a ballistic opinion was received denying the possibility that they carried out the shooting that led to the death of Hassouna. With respect to the fifth suspect, the ballistic test did not rule out or confirm him as the perpetrator of the fatal shooting, however many more pods were found at the scene of the incident, from weapons whose owners have not yet been located. In light of the aforesaid, it is impossible to determine with the required level of certainty in the criminal trial that it was this suspect who carried out the fatal shooting," the State Attorney’s Office added.

Four of the family members of Hassouna were charged with assault, production, purchase and carrying of firearms, and aggravated assault on a police officer, following a number of violent incidents in Lod.

The charges against them included manufacturing and throwing firebombs as well as rock-throwing at civilians and security forces. They were also accused of opening fire at passers-by with the intent to harm them.