Alleged partner of terrorist murderer of Lavi, Banita indicted

According to the indictment, the man from Abu Dis has been a member of Hamas for years.

Border policeman in Jerusalem (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Border policeman in Jerusalem
The Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office on Thursday filed an indictment against Abd al-Aziz Mari for his alleged involvement in the murder of Rabbi Nehemia Lavi and Aharon Banita in a stabbing spree in Jerusalem’s Old City on October 3.
Mari, 21, of Abu Dis, was also charged with involvement in the attempted murder of Banita’s wife, Adele, who was seriously wounded.
According to the indictment, Mari, a member of Hamas for years, was asked by Mohaned Halabi to help him gain entry to Jerusalem and to pray at the Aksa Mosque.
The two climbed over the security fence blocking entry of West Bank Palestinians into Israel, but when Mari and Halabi arrived at the mosque, Israeli security forces prohibited them from entering.
Halabi was furious and Mari suggested they carry out a stabbing attack against Jews as revenge, said the indictment.
Mari allegedly bought a knife for Halabi and further encouraged him to become a martyr, after which Halabi gave him his identity card and telephone to better avoid being identified.
Shortly after, Halabi brutally murdered Lavi and Banita and attacked Adele Benita and her toddler before being shot dead by security forces, stated the indictment.
After hearing about Halabi’s attack on the news, Mari allegedly praised the attack on his Facebook page, including posting a photo of the two of them from right before the attack, and decided that he would soon carry out a similar attack.
Before he could do so, he was arrested on October 5.
Mari was charged as a partner to murder, which can carry the same severity of punishment as the actual murderer Halabi would have faced if he were still alive.
The state requested to hold Mari in detention until the end of the trial against him.
Also on Thursday, the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office filed an indictment against Boha Issawat, 21, from Jebl Mukaber, for attempting to murder Jews on October 23 at Nof Zion in Jerusalem.
Issawat allegedly intended to attack a soldier or policeman, but was identified and arrested before he could.