A Jerusalem father and son who attempted to have an Old City police officer stabbed for allegedly restricting visitation levels at area churches remain in police custody Thursday, after being arrested following a protracted undercover sting operation thwarting their attack.
According to police, the officer in question, who serves as a liaison between the Christian Church and police, was repeatedly threatened by the pair over the last few weeks for his perceived role in preventing more tourism to churches in the Old City.
“The officer was in charge of security and movement for visitation at churches and part of his responsibility is dealing with visitors,” said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld Thursday. “The father and son thought he was personally responsible for the decrease of visitation to the churches, which is absolutely incorrect.”
The duo, who coordinated visits to the churches for profit, assumed the officer was responsible for a decrease in tourism and became increasingly incensed, resulting in the repeated physical threats against him, Rosenfeld said.
“Based on the seriousness of the threats, it was decided to set up an undercover investigation to have the father and son arrested before they could carry out the attack,” he continued. “Police counter-operations were carefully planned in order to prevent any violence.”
To that end, Rosenfeld said, undercover units closely monitored the two for several days, until it was determined they commissioned a third party to stab the officer and then have the assailant contact them when it was accomplished.
A source familiar with the sting, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case, said that on Tuesday morning an undercover officer fooled the pair into thinking the stabbing was indeed carried out.
Upon monitoring incriminating communications between the father and son after being told the officer was stabbed, they were immediately arrested.
Rosenfeld, who would not confirm the details of the investigation, said the father and son later admitted to orchestrating the attack.
Both suspects were arraigned at the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, where a judge ordered they remain in custody on Wednesday, Rosenfeld said.