By COLlive reporter
Detectives from the New York Police Department were in Crown Heights on Sunday to gather details about the firebomb that was thrown on Friday at 2 Israeli Yeshiva students.
As first reported on COLlive.com, a molotov cocktail exploded inches away from Yosef Rachimi and Yisroel Gedassi, both 20, when they paused to make a phone call in front of 356 West 37th Street near 9th Avenue in New York City.
According to a witness, a man screamed “I want to kill you!” before he tossed the Molotov cocktail inside a Snapple bottle at the two as they stood on a Midtown sidewalk Friday afternoon, the Daily News Reported.
Rachimi and Gedassi recalled details of the incident in a meeting with the detectives at the conference room of the Jewish Children’s Museum that lasted from 11:00 AM to 3:30 PM.
The two will be joining the NYPD investigative team at the scene of the attack in midtown Manhattan later today. The two regularly visit Ninth Avenue on Fridays to encourage Jewish business owners and clients to do a Mitzvah.
The attacker’s timing and preparedness has Jewish advocates worried. “A firebomb is not the kind of thing you have sitting in your car or in your bag unless you have someone to throw it at,” says Barry Sugar, director of the Jewish Leadership Council. “It is conceivable that the attacker sees these boys every Friday and prepared this bomb to ambush them.”
Police have yet to determine the nature of the attack and are said to be investigating both the hate crime or criminal motives.
Additional details on the attack, that has yet to be reported in major news outlets, are emerging in conversations COLlive.com held with people involved in the matter.
According to the students, a couple walking along 37th Street witnessed the attack and stopped to help. They ascertained that the flaming contraption was a homemade cocktail bomb made of a glass Snapple bottle filled with a flammable liquid and a wick.
“That was definitely thrown directly at you,” the woman told the boys, while her companion ran across the street to where pallets of bottled water were being unloaded to get some water to put out the fire.
By the time he returned, two Arabic-speaking men had come out of the shop directly in front of the attack and extinguished the fire with a bucket of water. They removed the burnt bicycle that was chained to the lamppost and swept up the debris, leaving almost no obvious evidence of the attack.
Despite the apparent premeditation and the quick clean up by the neighboring shopkeepers, an NYPD officer who responded to the scene did not consider the incident noteworthy.
“He basically said, ‘no injuries, nothing happened, let’s move on,'” Yosef Rachimi, who speaks Hebrew, said through an interpreter.
Activist Barry Sugar believes the attack is a warning that must be heeded before it is repeated, possibly with more damaging effects. “It’s a miracle that a bicycle blocked the bomb from hurting these boys. We can’t count on that miracle next Friday.”
After the incident, Yosef and Yisroel continued on their “route”, shaken but undeterred, encouraging their regular Jewish “customers” to do yet another Mitzvah.