Murder suspects (left to right) Ziad Awad and Azzadin Ziad Hassan Awad..
(photo credit: ISRAEL SECURITY AGENCY)
The Judea Military Court on Sunday ordered Ziad and Izzadin Ziad Hassan Awad – indicted for the Passover eve murder of Ch.-Supt. Baruch Mizrahi – remanded to prison until the end of their trials.
Ziad, previously convicted as a Hamas terrorist and sentenced to life in prison, only to be released in the 2011 Gilad Schalit deal, allegedly shot and killed top police intelligence officer Mizrahi and wounded his wife, Haddas, and two children on April 14 near the Tarkumiya checkpoint in the West Bank.
Ziad’s son Izzadin, 18, is accused of aiding him in the murder.
Ziad, 42, was indicted on June 23 following his arrest in May by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Service) and police commandos, on suspicion that he had stood by the side of Route 35 shooting at passing vehicles, including the one driven by Mizrahi as he headed with his family to a Passover Seder.
Awad was also indicted for attempted murder, weapons charges and for membership in a banned organization, and the next hearing in the case was set for September 14.
At the start of July, Awad’s residence became the first West Bank Palestinian home to be demolished by Israel since 2005, when it announced a moratorium on the punitive practice against terrorists’ families.
During the investigation, Izzadin turned in the weapon used in the attack – an AK 47 assault rifle – and also provided information about the crime that indicated his involvement in it, according to the Shin Bet.
The Shin Bet said they also learned that Awad acquired a motorcycle and the rifle in order to carry out the attack.
A week before the shooting he scouted out the location to gather intelligence, according to the security service.
After the killing, Awad told his son Aladdin that he carried out the shooting for religious reasons and that “according to Islam, anyone who kills a Jew goes to heaven,” the Shin Bet said.
A senior army source said of the shooting, “This attack was planned thoroughly ahead of time. He is a Hamas member, and he used a standard [automatic weapon] to fire on the vehicle, before fleeing the scene on a motorcycle.”
The Shin Bet, the police’s counterterrorism unit, the police’s crime scene investigation officers, and the IDF joined forces to track Awad down, the source said.
In particular, they found more 50 bullet shells at the scene that they traced to a single assault rifle, as well as a magazine that had both a fingerprint and a DNA sample.
Mizrahi, 46, served in the investigation and intelligence unit of the police, He was also a lieutenant colonel in the IDF reserves, and served in the “8200” unit of the Military Intelligence directorate.
Awad had been sentenced to life in prison in 1993 for killing Palestinians he accused of collaborating with Israel. He was one of 1,027 prisoners released by Israel in exchange for captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit in October 2011.Ben Hartman and Yaakov Lappin contributed to this story.