Two suspects were arrested Friday in connection with an alleged Brooklyn hate crime earlier this month tied to the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.
Gabi Zaibak, 28, and Eddie Zaibak, 26, both residents of East 66th Street in Brooklyn, were booked Oct. 20 on charges of assault, aggravated harassment and menacing — each of which were elevated to hate crimes.
Police say the Zaibaks were part of a group of nine men who attacked three victims in the area of 86th Street and 4th Avenue in Bay Ridge at about 11:15 p.m. on Oct. 11.
According to law enforcement sources, the nine suspects were riding in three separate vehicles when they shouted anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim statements at the male victims as they walked along the street.
The suspects, who were waving Israeli flags, then parked their vehicles and approached the three men, before punching and kicking an 18-year-old who suffered minor injuries. A 19-year-old man and 21-year-old man who were with the victim were uninjured. The victims, police said, are believed to be of Arab or Palestinian descent.
According to reports, the victims yelled out “free Palestine” at the suspects prior to the attack. Following the alleged assault, the nine men got back into their respective vehicles and drove off.
The incident comes at a time when tensions are high between ardent Palestinian and Israeli supporters following the outbreak of war in Gaza. There has been a spate of antisemitic and anti-Muslim incidents in the past week.
Police continue to search for the seven additional suspects connected to the Oct. 11 hate crime. The investigation remains ongoing.
Anyone with any information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit tips online at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, or on X (the platform formerly known as Twitter) @NYPDTips. All calls and messages are kept confidential.
Updated on Oct. 21 at 8:50 a.m.