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Israel: Mossad accused of being behind clashes between rival Eritreans

September 7, 2023 at 8:21 am

African migrants during a demonstration in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv on February 24, 2018 [JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images]

The Eritrean government has accused Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency of backing and organising the recent violent riots between rival Eritrean groups in Tel Aviv. The allegation comes as the Israeli government is reported to be trying to deport the rioters.

The clashes erupted in the Israeli capital on Saturday. Pro-regime Eritreans came up against their anti-regime countrymen who were protesting against an event organised by the country’s embassy in Israel. Hundreds of asylum seekers were injured, as were a number of Israeli police officers.

The incident led to fierce condemnation by members of Israel’s right-wing government, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has called for the immediate deportation of the asylum seekers involved. Reports have also claimed that the Israeli authorities will subject African migrants to administrative detention, under which they could be held indefinitely with neither charge nor trial. This notorious system is currently used almost exclusively against Palestinians.

READ: Israel deportation of Eritreans ‘contravenes international law’

According to Eritrea’s Information Ministry on Tuesday, the riots were “futile acts of subversion in essence sponsored by major intelligence agencies, including the Mossad.” It claimed that the agencies were “bewildered… by the indomitable resilience of the Eritrean people, [and] they desperately seek to foment division within its ranks.”

The ministry called the clashes “organised acts of violence and vandalism” that were orchestrated by Mossad to “disrupt decades-old, exemplary, and rich cultural events that Eritreans hold… to preserve their national identity and heritage.” It added that those “recent violent acts of harassment unfolded against this backdrop and perspective. They are evidently prompted by, and designed to achieve, ulterior political objectives.”