Khaleed Kutina arrives in court April 16, 2016.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The northeast Jerusalem Arab who rammed his car into Israelis waiting at a bus stop in the French Hill section of the capital last week told police that he was intent on “seeking out Jews to murder,” authorities permitted the press to report on Tuesday.
Koutineh, 37, from Anata, was arrested for running over and killing Shalom Yohai Cherki, 25, and seriously injuring a young woman.
In the initial days after the incident, police said they had not yet determined whether Koutineh hit the bus stop by accident or if it was a racially motivated attack, saying the incident required further investigation.
“It is possible and there is a very strong basis to now say that this was a terrorist attack,” Danino said on Saturday, calling it one of several devastating terrorist attacks to strike the capital over the past few months.
“As part of a joint investigation handled by the Jerusalem police and the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), Khaled Koutineh confessed to carrying out the vehicular terrorist attack last Wednesday, the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day,” the authorities said in a statement.
“Koutineh confessed to carrying out the attack with the intention of harming Jews, a decision he made just moments before the actual deed,” the statement read.
The authorities said that Koutineh was driving along Route 1, searching for Jews on the side of the road to run over. Eventually, he came upon a junction in French Hill and targeted the bus stop.
Koutineh initially told interrogators that he had suffered from mental imbalances, though authorities said he admitted to concocting the alibi in hopes of evading a stiff penalty.