Israeli security forces on Sunday arrested Saadi Ali Abu Hammad, 21, on suspicion of having attacked a security guard in Ma’aleh Adumim’s only shopping mall with an ax two days earlier.
Abu Hammad’s arrest was the result of a joint operation by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), the Judea and Samaria District Police and the IDF. Their two day search for him ended after a family member turned him in.
Abu Hammad is a resident of the Palestinian village of Eizariya, which is located just outside of both Ma’aleh Adumim and Jerusalem.
The Shin Bet said that during the initial investigation Abu Hammad made statements that implicated himself in the terrorist attack, however, the investigation is ongoing.
The security guard, Tzvika Cohen, a father of four, is in serious condition at the critical care unit of the Hadassah-University Medical Center on Mount Scopus. His family is scheduled to celebrate a bar mitzva in a few weeks.
According to Channel 2, Abu Hammad worked in the mall and had asked Cohen to open the elevator doors for him. Cohen, who knew Abu Hammad, did not suspect that he was about to be attacked.
A security video that was circulated late Saturday showed an assailant striking Cohen multiple times near the mall’s elevator doors.
Police are investigating the publication of the video on a number of WhatsApp groups at a time when there was a gag order on all photographs and videos relating to the attack.
The video was widely publicized on Internet news sites after the gag order was lifted.
Ma’aleh Adumim is the third largest settlement in the West Bank and is home to about 40,000 people.
Judea and Samaria District Police have banned Palestinian workers from entering the city until Thursday, but they will be allowed to go to work at the adjacent Mishor Adumim Industrial Park.
Separately, a Border Police officer responding to a riot in east Jerusalem’s Isawiya neighborhood is in light condition after he was struck in the head by a large rock thrown from a rooftop early Sunday evening.
According to Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, shortly after 5 p.m. police units patrolling the flash point area were besieged by firebombs and large Jerusalem stones thrown by a mob of young Arab men.
“Police units were carrying out operations in Isawiya and local Palestinians started rioting, throwing petrol bombs and Jerusalem stones weighing up to 20 kilos from rooftops at them,” said Rosenfeld shortly after the attack.
An officer was struck in the head by one of the stones, treated at the scene, and transferred to an area hospital in satisfactory condition, he added.
“Border police responded by using non-lethal stun grenades to push back the rioters, and at one point one of the officers there shot a 19-yearold Arab man in the leg with a Ruger gun, which has a .22 caliber round, when he attempted to throw a petrol bomb at him,” Rosenfeld said.
He emphasized that only one shot was fired from the low-caliber pistol, and that the suspect was treated at the scene before being arrested.
The rioters were dispersed without any other injuries or arrests, he said.
“Police operations continue in the neighborhood and throughout east Jerusalem,” Rosenfeld added.
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