INDIANAPOLIS — IMPD officers arrested a woman, who they labeled a “terrorist,” after she drove her car into a building that she thought was a Jewish school.
However, the building is used by the Israelite School of Universal and Practical Knowledge which has been labeled and anti-semitic hate group.
Ruba Almaghtheh, 34, was arrested on a preliminary charge of criminal recklessness.
According to a police report obtained by FOX59/CBS4, police were called to the building around 11:30 Friday night to investigate a hate crime. Officers said Almaghtheh backed her car into the building while several adults and children were inside.
Almaghtheh told officers she was watching news coverage of the Israel-Hamas war on television and decided to plan an attack on the building because she was offended by the “Hebrew Israelite” symbol on the front of the building.
Police said Almaghtheh passed by the building a couple times and called it the “Israel school.”
IMPD said she made reference to “her people back in Palestine” and told officers, “Yes. I did it on purpose.”
However, the Anti-Defamation League defines the Israelite School of Universal and Practical Knowledge as an “extreme and antisemitic” sect of the Black Hebrew Israelites. The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated the Black Hebrew Israelites as a hate group.
In a statement released Sunday night, the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis reported that Safe Indiana, a Jewish community security program, was immediately notified of the incident. Safe Indiana is working alongside law enforcement to investigate the incident.
“Safety and security for our community is of the utmost importance, and we are more secure and prepared than ever before,” Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis officials wrote in a press release. “Although a Jewish facility was not targeted, solely due to ironic misidentification, this is yet another reminder to maintain security protocols, remain vigilant of suspicious activity and to (report promptly) to the appropriate authorities.”
According to the report, Almaghtheh was interviewed by detectives and admitted to committing the “hate crime” during her courtesy phone call with a family member.
Almaghtheh is expected to make her first court appearance on Wednesday. IMPD has contacted the FBI about the incident.