The man responsible for a shooting attack at the Ammunition Hill light rail station on Sunday morning, which left two dead and several others wounded, told a Palestinian news site that he intended to turn himself into a Ramle prison that day.
In an interview on Saturday night with the Ma’an Palestinian news agency, the assailant, who is 39 and from Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood, said, “If God wills, I will turn myself into the Ramle prison tomorrow,” adding that authorities “threatened to administratively detain [him] if he postponed turning [himself] in.”
The man, whose identity is under gag order, assaulted a police officer near the Temple Mount in 2013.
Shortly thereafter, authorities indicted him, but later dropped the case. In 2015, authorities reopened the case, and a court sentenced him to four months in prison, to begin last May. However, he received permission from the court to delay his entry to prison until October.
In its ruling, the court justified the delay, saying the assailant “cooperated.”
After Sunday’s attack, the terrorist fled to east Jerusalem’s Sheikh al-Jarrah neighborhood, where authorities shot and killed him In the interview with Ma’an, the assailant said that authorities recently informed him of a number of decisions limiting his movements. “They expelled me for a month from east Jerusalem a week ago, and gave me a ruling barring me from traveling abroad until the end of the year,” he said, adding that authorities arrested him five times over the past two weeks.
Authorities also recently banned him from the Temple Mount for six months.
The attacker spent a year in prison, from January to December 2015, for allegedly posting provocative material on Facebook.
In a press release, Hamas said that the assailant is “one of its leaders in Jerusalem” and welcomed his “heroic attack,” saying he “sacrificed his fortune and life for the sake of Al-Aksa Mosque and Jerusalem.”
Moreover, the assailant published a note on Facebook addressed to Al-Aksa Mosque on Friday. “How much I miss you, my love, my beloved. How much I miss you and hope that you are the last thing I see, kiss and pray upon,” he wrote.
“I will not miss anyone like I will miss you, and I will not love anyone like I love you.”
Al-Quds TV, a Hamas-affiliated channel, published a video of the attacker, calling on fellow Palestinians to pray at Al-Aksa. “We must persevere in praying in the blessed Al-Aksa Mosque. On the Day of Judgment, God, almighty he is, will ask what we have given to Al-Aksa Mosque.”
The attacker said that Palestinians will remain steadfast in Jerusalem. “No matter how great your [Israel’s] oppression becomes, or how many massacres you carry out against us, with the help of God, we will remain steadfast in Jerusalem and Al-Aksa Mosque.
The date the video was filmed is unknown, but Palestinians on social media have referred to it as his will.
The current wave of Arab violence began just over a year ago.