Sudanese Man Tries to ‘Slaughter’ Israeli Passenger on Flight to Ethiopia

Ethiopian Airlines plane / AP
November 4, 2015

A Sudanese passenger on a flight to Ethiopia was arrested after allegedly attacking an Israeli traveler and trying to "slaughter" him last Thursday.

Ethiopian authorities arrested the suspect, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday, after he attacked the Israeli citizen on an Ethiopian Airlines flight last week from Chad to Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, according to Ynet.

"We are aware of the event and the Israeli embassy in Addis Ababa has updated us with details," representatives at the ministry said.

The Israeli victim, identified as Arik, works in Africa and was traveling on to Israel. He said that the alleged attacker choked and threatened to "slaughter" him.

"About 20 minutes before the plane started its descent the passenger sitting behind me identified me as Israeli and Jewish," Arik recounted. "He came up behind my seat and started to choke me with a lot of force and at first I couldn’t get my voice out and call for help."

"He hit me over the head with a metal tray and shouted ‘Allah akbar’ and ‘I will slaughter the Jew.’ Only after a few seconds, just before I was about to lose consciousness, did I manage to call out and a flight attendant who saw what was happening summoned her colleagues," Arik said.

One Lebanese man and a few other passengers came to Arik’s aid, while the majority did not, he said. The attacker also called on the other passengers to attack the Israeli traveler.

"After they pulled him off me he hit me and shouted in Arabic. Some of the flight staff took me to the rear section of the plane and two guarded the attacked during the last part of the flight," Arik said.

"After we landed the Lebanese guy told me that I’d been saved twice, because after they’d overpowered my attacker he said to everyone: ‘Let’s finish him off,’" he continued. "During the moments when I thought I was going to die, I’d already begun to separate from my family in my thoughts."

Ethiopian Airlines identified the suspect as Ahmed Mohamed in a statement, saying that the alleged attacker "showed no signs of violence as he was boarding the flight."

"He attacked not only the Israeli but also other passengers and members of the flight crew. He is still in detention and is due to appear in court on Wednesday," the airline stated.

"The Israeli passenger was taken to a medical clinic in the airport and released shortly after. He was able to continue on to Tel Aviv as planned. We are sorry for the incident and will do everything we can in order to prevent further such attacks on our Israeli customers."