Jerusalem police arrested two 15-year-old girls on Monday, bringing to seven the number of Jewish teenagers arrested in connection with a brutal hate attack on young Palestinians last week.
“Two 15-year-old girls were arrested today, in addition to the five youngsters already arrested,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP.
“One of the girls incited the teenagers to attack the young Arabs by saying that she had been attacked by Arabs in the past.”
The Israeli government has expressed condemnation of the attack, which took place in Jerusalem’s central Zion Square, a busy late-night meeting place in the heart of the city’s bar and entertainment district.
Press reports said there were hundreds of onlookers who failed to intervene.
The assault in the early hours of Friday targeted four cousins from Israeli-annexed Arab east Jerusalem. Jamal Julani, 17, remained in a serious condition in hospital on Monday, the police spokeswoman said.
“We were walking and suddenly maybe 50 Jews came toward us shouting ‘Arabs, Arabs,'” one of the cousins, Mohammed Mujahad, who was only slightly injured, told the Haaretz newspaper.
“Jamal tried to run but (the attacker) hit him in the chest and he fell, with his head on the ground,” another cousin, Nuaman Julani told the paper.
Several of the suspects appeared before a Jerusalem court on Monday, hiding their faces from the cameras of waiting press photographers with their clothes, an AFP correspondent reported.