Two Arab Jerusalem youths indicted for attempted murder

Suspects planned stabbings of Jews last month near Damascus Gate to "kill them and become martyrs."

February 11, 2016 00:53
2 minute read.

SECURITY FORCES deploy at the scene of a stabbing late last month that wounded a 17-year-old. The suspected perpetrators were charged in court yesterday with the attack.. (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90)


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Two Arab teenagers, ages 14 and 16, from east Jerusalem’s Shuafat neighborhood, were indicted by Jerusalem’s Juvenile District Court on Wednesday for attempted murder stemming from a stabbing attack last month near the Old City’s Damascus Gate.

According to the indictment, the unidentified minors confessed to being influenced to stab Jews and security personnel after watching online videos showing Border Police conducting weapons searches of female Arab suspects in Jerusalem.

The videos, the indictment says, inspired the boys to carry out a “stabbing attack against Jews or members of the security forces in order to kill them and become martyrs.”

On the morning of January 30, at approximately 11 a.m., both suspects, whose ages prohibit publication of their names, purchased two 10 cm.-long knives at a store near their homes to carry out deadly stabbings, the indictment says.

“Each of the defendants hid the knife in the sleeve of their shirt and went to the Old City of Jerusalem,” it says.

“At around 4 p.m. the accused entered the Old City through the Damascus Gate.”

Upon arriving at the gate, the defendants met an 11-year-old Palestinian boy, whom they asked to join them. The child agreed, procured a crowbar, and then followed the teens to Al-Aqsa Mosque to pray, before returning to the gate where they waited near its stone stairs for a Jew to emerge to stalk and stab, the indictment says.

At approximately 5 p.m., when three Jewish youths exited through the gate, the two teens removed the knives from their sleeves and approached them from behind.

“The 16-year-old defendant swung the knife at one of the youths, who sidestepped the knife, and the other [14-yearold] defendant managed to stab one of the men in the waist,” the indictment says.

“Following their actions, they fled in all directions.”

The stabbing victim, a17- year-old American-Israeli Jewish boy who made aliya in December from Brooklyn to study at a military academy and serve in the IDF, told police he and a friend were surrounded by the Arab youths after praying at the Western Wall.

The Jewish teen was treated for a light wound at the scene and transferred to Jerusalem’s Hadassah University Hospital on Mount Scopus.

The attack, which was videotaped by CCTV surveillance, led police to the 11-year-old and 14-year-old suspects in the Old City roughly an hour later; the 16-year-old assailant turned himself in the following morning after learning his arrest was imminent.

During a press conference at the hospital the night he was stabbed, the unidentified victim described the harrowing encounter.

“It seemed like they wanted to kill us,” he said. “There were two of them with knives, and they looked young... I didn’t see them come at me, and I only realized I had been stabbed when I saw blood and them running away... I understood that it was a terrorist attack and that I had been stabbed.”

Despite the traumatizing attack, the teen said he would not hesitate to join the IDF to serve his new country.

“I was never afraid,” he said.

“God willing, I will enlist in the army and join Sayeret Matkal [the General Staff Reconnaissance Unit].”

The teens are being charged with attempted murder and possession of illegal weapons.

It remains unclear how their 11-year-old accomplice, whose young age precludes him from being prosecuted, will be dealt with.

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