(JTA) — A firebomb believed to have been thrown at two Israeli yeshiva students in New York City was actually aimed at a Muslim food truck vendor, police said.
The students, both 19, were walking in Midtown Manhattan on Friday when a still-unidentified assailant threw a bottle filled with combustible liquid that landed in front of them.
New York Police Department spokesman Lee Jones told the Gothamist blog on Monday that the Israeli students were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that the real target was the vendor, Saleh Hegazy, who had argued with someone who came back to attack him.
“It looks like an individual got into some sort of dispute with a manager at a food cart storage facility, came back and threw a bottle containing a combustible substance,” Jones said.
Jones also disputed the term “firebomb,” saying instead that an individual threw a bottle containing an unidentified substance.
The students, Yosef Rachimi and Yisrael Gadasi, are studying at a Brooklyn yeshiva for one year. They reportedly often visit Jewish-owned businesses to encourage people to perform mitzvahs, or good deeds.