A woman, who police have now labeled as a “terrorist,” drove her car into an Indianapolis building used by an antisemitic group on Saturday, believing it was an “Israel school.”
Ruba Almaghtheh, 34, actually backed into a building used by the Black Hebrew Israelites, which the Anti-Defamation League calls “extreme and antisemitic.” They are also branded as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center according to The Times of Israel.
Almaghtheh “told one officer she has been watching the news and couldn’t breathe anymore. She referenced her people back in Palestine,” according to a news release issued by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
Police noted that there was an adult and four children, ages 7 months, 1, 2, and 3 years, inside the Israelite School of Universal and Practical Knowledge when the woman rammed into it late Friday. No one was reportedly injured.
(Video Credit: CBS4 Indy)
Michael Leffler, a spokesperson for the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, stated that the 34-year-old woman was arrested at the scene. Almaghtheh is now being held at the Marion County Jail on a preliminary charge of criminal recklessness but there may be more charges to come. She had not been formally charged as of Monday afternoon.
The FBI has been notified of what could be charged as a hate crime. CBS 4 reported that she is facing a preliminary charge of intimidation, which would be a felony if the threat is for an act of terrorism.
“She said she passed by a couple times and saw the ‘Israel school,”’ a press release recounted, adding that she also admitted, “Yes. I did it on purpose.”
The woman claims she was triggered by watching news coverage of the Israel-Hamas war that began with the surprise attack on Oct. 7 when Hamas terrorists slaughtered 1,400 people and kidnapped over 200 more. She couldn’t take Israel striking back over the atrocity. At that point, she planned her attack on the building according to a probable cause affidavit for her arrest, The Indianapolis Star reported.
BREAKING: 34-year-old woman in Indianapolis, Ruba Almaghtheh intentionally crashed her car into what she thought was a Jewish school because she was angry about the Israel-Hamas war
Indianapolis police said Almaghtheh was arrested for criminal recklessness, and also informed… pic.twitter.com/WdAGf0HIt4
— I Meme Therefore I Am (@ImMeme0) November 7, 2023
“The building had a ‘semblance of a Star of David on the front door’ and the words ‘Hebrew Israelite’ on a sign, apparently leading the suspect to believe that the building was connected to the Jewish community or Israel, according to the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council,” The Times of Israel wrote.
The affidavit connected to the incident showed that following the crash, Almaghtheh’s car sustained damage to its rear end. She also told her sister on a courtesy phone call following her arrest that she drove into the building on purpose.
“Captain Chaapash Yahawadah, who said he is the leader of the Indianapolis school, said the building’s foundation suffered significant damage when it was struck by the suspect’s car. He told The Associated Press the school was hosting a class and school-related functions at the time and that the crash left the people who were inside stunned and traumatized,” NBC News reported.
“Our statement to the Palestinian community is the black and brown community has nothing to do with what’s going on over there, the war in the Middle East is between Gaza and Israel,” Yahawadah said in a statement on Monday.
Woman arrested after driving car into Indianapolis building she thought was ‘Israel school’
The woman “told one officer she has been watching the news and couldn’t breathe anymore. She referenced her people back in Palestine,” according to a news release from the Indianapolis… pic.twitter.com/N9j4HOqzNY
— Sal Gueli (@sal_gueli) November 7, 2023
The Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council was notified of the crash according to a statement.
“Although a Jewish facility was not targeted, solely due to ironic misidentification, this is yet another reminder to maintain security protocols, remain vigilant of suspicious activity and to report same promptly to the appropriate authorities,” the council said in a statement.
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