(NEW YORK) — A 28-year-old New York City man has been indicted on hate crime charges stemming from an October antisemitic attack on a 23-year-old Israeli tourist in Times Square, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Yehia Amin was indicted by a New York State Supreme Court grand jury on charges of stalking in the first degree as a hate crime, assault in the third degree as a hate crime and stalking in the third degree as a hate crime, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement. Amin was also indicted on one count of aggravated harassment in the second degree, Bragg said.
The attack unfolded around 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 18 as the victim and four friends were walking through Times Square wearing kippahs or traditional Jewish yarmulke when they encountered Amin, Bragg said.
“As alleged, Yehia Amin taunted and punched a tourist after stalking his friends and going on a vile antisemitic tirade that spanned several minutes,” Bragg said in a statement. “Violence stemming from hate and discrimination will not be tolerated in Manhattan. We will continue working with our law enforcement partners to hold those that cause harm accountable to ensure Manhattan is a safe place for everyone.”
The assault occurred about 12 days after Hamas terrorists launched a surprise attack on Israel, indiscriminately killing more than 1,200 people and taking more than 240 people hostage, according to the Israeli government. Israel responded to the attack with a bombing campaign and ground operation in the Gaza Strip that has killed more than 16,200 people, according to figures released by Gaza’s Hamas-run Ministry of Health and the Hamas government media office.
Bragg said that when Amin crossed paths with the victim and his friends, the suspect allegedly recognized they were Jewish, apparently because of the kippahs they were wearing.
The suspect allegedly followed the group for several blocks, using his Bluetooth speaker to play music he later described as “Hamas music,” according to Bragg’s statement.
During the confrontation, Amin is accused of making antisemitic and anti-Israeli remarks to the victim and his friends, allegedly telling them, “Hamas should kill more of you” and “All Jews should die,” according to the district attorney’s office.
The victim and his friends tried to report the harassment to a security guard in Times Square, prosecutors said. As they continued walking to a nearby train station, Amin allegedly followed them and taunted them with threats and more antisemitic remarks, according to the district attorney’s office.
After harassing the victim and his friends for over 10 minutes, Amin allegedly sprinted up behind the victim and punched him in the back of the head, causing redness, swelling and substantial pain, according to Bragg’s statement.
Amin allegedly tried to flee the scene, but the victim and his friends followed him and flagged down a police officer who caught up to Amin and arrested him.
Even after being taken into custody, Amin allegedly continued to yell, “I will die for Gaza” and “God kill all the Israelis,” according to the district attorney’s statement.
Amin could not be reached Tuesday for comment. It was unclear if he had hired an attorney.
Reports of anti-Jewish incidents have been on the rise amid the latest conflict between Israel and Hamas, including in New York City, new data shows. The total number of bias crimes investigated by the NYPD Hate Crime Task Force increased by 124% (from 45 to 101) in October, led by a 214% spike in anti-Jewish incidents (from 22 to 69), the NYPD said on Nov. 9.
Nationwide, the Anti-Defamation League said it has recorded a “significant spike in antisemitic incidents” since Oct. 7. According to preliminary data from the ADL Center on Extremism, 312 incidents of harassment, vandalism and assault were recorded from Oct. 7 to Oct. 23 — a 388% increase over the same period last year.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights organization, said last month that from Oct. 7 to Nov. 4, its national headquarters and chapters had received 1,283 requests for help and reports of bias. In an average 29-day period in 2022, it said it received 406 such complaints.
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