Court to indict Ramallah native for role in Succot murders

Police detained student, who allegedly bought terrorist's knife, two days after incident.

November 1, 2015 13:23
2 minute read.
Terror attack in Jerusalem

A child pays homage at the site in Jerusalem’s Old City where Rabbi Nehemia Lavi and Aharon Banita were stabbed to death on October 3. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

A 21-year-old Palestinian is expected to be indicted in the coming days for allegedly assisting and encouraging the attacker who stabbed two Jews to death on Succot, it was cleared for publication Sunday.

Abed al-Aziz Meri, a native of Ramallah, is suspected of supplying Muhannad Halabi with the knife he used in the attack, and of inciting and encouraging him to carry out the attack.

Halabi, a 19-year-old native of El-Bireh outside Ramallah, murdered Rabbi Nehemia Lavi and Aharon Banita in the terrorist attack on October 3 on Hagai Street in Jerusalem’s Old City, and wounded Banita’s wife, Adele, and their two-yearold son. Halabi was shot dead by police at the scene.

After the attack, Islamic Jihad took responsibility and claimed Halabi as a member.

A spokesman for the Jerusalem police said Sunday that Meri is suspected of helping Halabi enter Jerusalem on the day of the attack by way of Abu Dis, where Meri studies. The two then tried to enter Temple Mount to pray at al-Aksa, but were turned away by police after they refused to show identification.

The police spokesman said Halabi become enraged after he was turned away by police and that Meri then began encouraging him “to do something about it.” That same day Meri allegedly took Halabi to a store near the Damascus Gate and bought him the knife he used in the attack.

On Sunday, Meri was brought for a pre-indictment hearing at the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, where both his attorney and the prosecution said they saw no reason to preserve the gag order on his arrest.

Meri was originally arrested by police and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) on October 5 and has been held since then in Shikma Prison in Ashkelon. Meri has no prior criminal record, police said in court.

The charges he potentially faces in his indictment include accessory to murder and incitement to murder, as well as membership in a banned organization.

The Palestinian Authority decided last month to name a street after the 19-yearold terrorist. Palestinian Media Watch reported that the municipality where the terrorist lived on the outskirts of Ramallah took the decision “in order to honor Halabi, who carried out a stabbing and shooting operation against settlers in the Old City of occupied Jerusalem.”

“This is the least we can do for martyr Halabi,” Muhammad Hussein, mayor of Surda-Abu Qash, said of the glorification of the terrorist.

He said the naming of the street after Halabi was “intended to emphasize the national role

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