Man Accused of Hate Crime Arrested in Florida

( – A 39-year-old Jordanian-born man has been arrested on suspicion of terrorizing Jewish people in the Sunny Isles Beach area, Florida.

Mohamed Al Saccal was arrested on Saturday, March 9, and appeared in Miami-Dade County Court the following day accused of attempted aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. There remains the possibility of prosecutors adding hate crime charges to his case based on his alleged victims’ Jewish identity and their reports that he made clear reference to this during the alleged attack.

Seven people reported being targeted by a man who followed, harassed, and threatened them in a series of incidents, including one couple who say they were making their way on foot to their synagogue when the suspect pulled a weapon from his pants and began to chase them. As he chased them, he shouted antisemitic statements such as “All Jews must die”. The weapon has been described as a sharp weapon, possibly a dagger.

Al Saccal is accused of making numerous threats against Orthodox Jews over a series of days, with the police receiving multiple calls reporting similar incidents. When brought into the Sunny Isles Beach police station for questioning, Al Saccal tried to claim that his Jewish ancestry meant he would never have committed such acts. Despite his statement that he was “10% Jew”, authorities believed that there was reasonable cause to arrest him, and that there may be enough cause to include a hate crime element to his charges.

Sargeant Brian Schnell of Sunny Isles Beach stressed the police department’s firm stance against hate crime, saying that police would not tolerate “any type of crime geared towards hate” or based on animosity towards any group of people, regardless of any global political issues or conflict.

Since the October 7 massacre committed by Palestinian Hamas against Israeli citizens and Israel’s subsequent military response, tensions between Palestinian supporters and Israeli supporters have increased. According to the Anti-Defamation League, antisemitic incidents have massively increased in frequency, with triple the number of reports made between October 7 and December 7, 2023, compared to the same period in 2022.

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