Ruba Almaghtheh, 34, allegedly told police, "I did it on purpose"
An Indiana woman faces multiple charges for allegedly driving her car into a building she falsely believed was a Jewish school, authorities said, according to multiple reports.
Ruba Almaghtheh, 34, allegedly drove her car into the Israelite School of Universal and Practical Knowledge in Indianapolis, Ind. on Friday evening.
While police allege Almaghtheh thought the building was a Jewish school, the building is actually associated with the Radical Hebrew Israelites, a group the Anti-Defamation League accuses of being anti-semitic and racist. The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies the organization as a hate group.
At the time of her arrest, Almaghtheh allegedly said, "I did it on purpose," according to a statement provided by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department to ABC News. She said she had been emotionally impacted by the ongoing Israel-Hamas war and “couldn’t breathe anymore."
She made a reference to “her people back in Palestine” during her alleged confession, NBC News reports, citing the statement. The suspect's nationality is not specified in jail records.
IMPD did not respond to PEOPLE's requests for further information.
Gary Colasessano, the suspect's defense lawyer, denies allegations of hate-crime and tells PEOPLE she "had no recollection" of the incident in the aftermath and may have had "a lapse of reality", possibly in part owing to her medication.
The alleged attack comes at a time of increasing hate crimes during the Israel-Hamas war in the Middle East, according to information from the Department of Homeland Security, which cites rising numbers of hate crimes against Arabs, Muslims and Jews, ABC News reports.
The Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council issued a statement to the Indianapolis Star reading, "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 same promptly to the appropriate authorities."
Court records for Almaghtheh show she is currently facing charges of intimidation with the use of a deadly weapon, criminal recklessness and criminal mischief, She has entered a plea of not guilty and a bond has been set at $200,000.
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