Palestinian held for J'lem-area stabbing

The suspect, a Fatah member, practiced stabbing his bedroom mattress.

Fatah gunmen 298.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Fatah gunmen 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
A 24-year-old Palestinian member of the mainstream Fatah Movement was under arrest Thursday for allegedly stabbing a 63-year old Israeli on the outskirts of Jerusalem earlier this week, police said. The suspect, Ramaz Da'ar Haj, of the West Bank village of Beituniya near Ramallah was apprehended Tuesday immediately after allegedly stabbing and seriously wounding Ran Shimon in the morning attack in the Atarot industrial zone. A court gag order which was imposed on the case was lifted Thursday afternoon, ending a 48-hours news blackout on the case. According to police, the Palestinian suspect, who previously worked at two factories in the borderline Jerusalem area, had planned the attack well in advance, telling investigators that he had repeatedly practiced stabbing on his bedroom mattress. Shimon, who was seriously wounded in the early-morning stabbing, was rushed to hospital with the 20 cm knife used in the attack still in his back. The Palestinian suspect, who has been a Fatah member for the last three years, told investigators that he planned to carry out an attack on a Jew a year and a half ago in the city's northern French Hill neighborhood but changed his mind after encountering police in the area, police said, in a statement on the case. At the time, he hurled the knife he was carrying on the ground, and told police that he had been planning to steal a car, the police said. He later served a three-month jail term for the offense. After his release from jail, the suspect resumed his plans to stab a Jew, police said, and plotted to attack an "important Jew," in the form of the former head of the Atarot Industrial Zone, as a "present" to his El Aksa brigades, police said. On the morning of the attack, he came upon the factory worker and stabbed him in the shoulder from behind, the police said. The attacker had also concealed a second knife in the sole of his shoe, planning to stab his police investigator as well, according to police. He is expected to be charged with attempted murder. The area in question, which lies adjacent to the West Bank, has been the site of multiple terror-related attacks against Jewish workers in the past.