Eritrea Accuses Israel's Mossad, Other Intel Agencies of Funding Violence Between Factions

Posted by: Semere Asmelash

Date: Wednesday, 06 September 2023

Haaretz | Israel News

Eritrea Accuses Israel's Mossad, Other Intel Agencies of Funding Violence Between Factions

Comments come after dozens were injured in clashes between supporters and opponents of Pres. Afwerki in Tel Aviv on Saturday
Sep 6, 2023 6:18 am IDT
Members of Israel's security forces clash with Eritrean asylum seekers protesting an event organised by Eritrea's government in the coastal city of Tel Aviv on 2 September 2023 (AFP)

The Eritrean Information Ministry has accused Israel’s Mossad and other intelligence agencies of disrupting “cultural events that have been taking place for decades,” after more than 100 people were injured in violent clashes in Tel Aviv between Eritrean government supporters celebrating an Eritrea Day event and opponents of President Isaias Afwerki.

According to accusation, which was made in a television news broadcast from Asmara on Wednesday, “the past few weeks have seen organized violence and vandalism in a number of European cities and elsewhere, aimed at disrupting national festivals and events that were organized by the Eritrean community. The main goal of this violence is to disrupt these events, which are designed to safeguard the community’s national identity, traditions and connection to the homeland … The division that has been sewn between the groups is funded by key intelligence agencies – including the Mossad.”

Saturday’s violence began when protesters marched toward Yad Harutsim Street in Tel Aviv on Saturday morning, where the embassy event was slated to take place in the afternoon. The demonstrators were stopped there by Israeli police officers, but later broke through barriers which had been set up by law enforcement.

The police responded by using stun and gas grenades, batons and sponge-tipped bullets on the protesters, and fired shots into the air. Demonstrators smashed cars (both private and police vehicles), as well as the windows of nearby businesses, and fought with the officers.

More than 50 Eritreans suspected of involvement in Saturday's riots are being transferred to a prison in central Israel on Tuesday without appearing before a judge. The move is indefinite and does not oblige the state to provide them with legal representation.

On Tuesday morning, the police withdrew its request to extend the suspects' detention. Instead, they informed the courts that an administrative process regulated by the Entry into Israel Law is underway–a step that recently hasn't been used against people who have not been indicted.

Instances of violence between supporters and opponents of the Eritrean government have occurred in Israel in the past – in 2020, a supporter of the regime was stabbed to death. Clashes between the opposing factions have occurred in the past around Eritrean Independence Day, celebrated in May, though this year the event passed in relative silence.