(JTA) — A Sudanese man has been arrested for attempting to murder a Jewish-Israeli passenger on an Ethiopian Airlines flight.
Ethiopian authorities arrested the man, who assaulted the Israeli on a flight from Chad to Ethiopia on Oct. 29, Ynet reported Tuesday.
The 54-year-old victim, who Ynet identified only by his first name, Arik, works for an Israeli company that operates in Africa.
“About 20 minutes before the plane started its descent, the passenger sitting behind me identified me as Israeli and Jewish,” Arik told Ynet. “He came up behind my seat and started to choke me with a lot of force, and at first I couldn’t get my voice out and call for help.
“He hit me over the head with a metal tray and shouted ‘Allah akbar’ [God is great] and ‘I will slaughter the Jew.’ Only after a few seconds, just before I was about to lose consciousness, did I manage to call out and a flight attendant who saw what was happening summoned her colleagues.”
Arik said that a Lebanese man was one of the few passengers to defend him. He also said that his attacker tried to convince the other passengers to lynch him.
“After we landed the Lebanese guy told me that I’d been saved twice, because after they’d overpowered my attacker he said to everyone, ‘Let’s finish him off,’” Arik said.
In a statement released in response to the incident, Ethiopian Airlines said, “The attacker, who has been identified as Ahmed Mohamed, showed no signs of violence as he was boarding the flight.
“He attacked not only the Israeli but also other passengers and members of the flight crew. He is still in detention and is due to appear in court on Wednesday.”
The airline said that Arik was taken to a medical clinic in the airport and released shortly afterward, and that he was able to continue on to Tel Aviv as planned.
“We are sorry for the incident and will do everything we can in order to prevent further such attacks on our Israeli customers,” the statement said.