Scene of terror attack in Armon Hanatziv.
(photo credit: GALI TIBBON / AFP)
The Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office on Monday filed an indictment against Bilal Abu Ghanem for three murders and seven counts of attempted murder in the October 12 terrorist attack in Jerusalem’s Armon Hanatziv neighborhood, one of the bloodiest of the current wave of terrorism.
State Prosecutor Uri Korb said that Abu Ghanem had perpetrated a “brutal murder against innocent civilians” and “did not express regret for his actions.”
Ghanem, 21, of Jebl Mukaber, had been a supporter of Hamas for several years when Baha Elian contacted him on October 12, telling him that he had obtained NIS 20,000 to carry out an attack against Jews, the indictment says.
The charge sheet goes on in great detail about how the attack was planned. It says that Ghanem and Elian were angry about reported “breakins at al-Aksa [Mosque]” and at “settlers for murdering Palestinian children,” quoting allegations that had been circulated by Islamist groups.
Scenes of double terror attacks in Jerusalem
They agreed to perpetrate an attack and purchased a gun and a knife. Elian purchased the weapons and when Ghanem visited him at his office, at a publishing company, he showed Elian how to use the gun, noting that it had 14 bullets, the charge sheet says.
Each of them concealed his weapon in the waistband of his trousers and then rode on Ghanem’s motorcycle to Armon Hanatziv, where they parked it and got on a No. 78 city bus.
When they thought there were enough passengers on board, Elian signaled to Ghanem to open fire. He started shooting while Elian began to stab passengers, the indictment states.
When Ghanem ran out of bullets, he tried to strangle another passenger.
Together they are accused of murdering American immigrant Richard Lakin, 76, Alon Andrei Govberg, 51, and Haviv Haim, 78, and wounding several other passengers.
The driver stopped the bus and opened the door so that he and others could escape, but the terrorists managed to close the doors after he left, the indictment says.
Eventually, security forces arrived, killed Elian, wounded and arrested Ghanem.
Some bus victims, like Govberg , were both shot and stabbed.
Lakin, a lifelong peace activist and grandfather of eight, was a former principal at Hopewell Elementary School in Glastonbury, Connecticut, and was well-known within the Anglo-Israeli immigrant community.