Four Palestinian youths, including two minors, were arrested on suspicion of having carried out a rock-throwing attack on a car in Jerusalem on the Jewish New Year two weeks ago which led to the death of its driver, Alexander Levlovitz.
According to a statement Saturday night by the Shin Bet, the Israel Security Agency, the four are residents of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sur Baher.
They were identified by the Shin Bet as Muhammad Salah Muhammad Abu Kaf, 18, Walid Fares Mustafa Atrash, 18, and Abed Muhammad Abed Rabu Dawiat, 17. The fourth suspect’s identity was not revealed.
During their interrogation, according to the Shin Bet, the four admitted to setting out on the evening of Rosh Hashanah to attack Israeli cars.
Dawiat, according to the investigation, threw the stone that hit Levlovitz’s car, causing him to lose control of his vehicle and crash into a pole. He died of his wounds the next morning.
Two women who were in the car with Levlovitz, 64, were lightly wounded.
The Shin Bet said Dawiat told investigators that he carried out the attack in the name of terror group Hamas and that the four threw stones at several Israeli cars before hitting Levlovitz’s.
The four then fled the scene, meeting later to coordinate their version of events in case they were caught, according to the Shin Bet.
The incident — amid a surge of rock-throwing attacks on the Temple Mount, across Jerusalem and in the West Bank — led Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to call an emergency meeting at the end of the Jewish New Year in which a new series of measures against rock-throwers were announced.
The security cabinet on Thursday voted unanimously in favor of the new rules aimed at combating stone-throwing, including mandatory minimum sentences for those convicted of throwing rocks and firebombs, and an easing of the rules governing police use of live fire in rock-throwing incidents.
The cabinet agreed to back legislation to allow live fire in any case in which lives are endangered; use of .22 Ruger sniper rifles against rock throwers; a minimum four-year prison sentence for rock throwers, including imprisonment and fines for minors aged 14-18; the cancellation of welfare benefits for minors in prison; and an evaluation of fining parents of convicted children aged 12-14.
Following the vote, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted that “In Israel, these murderous objects won’t be thrown unanswered and without prevention.”
Following the Shin Bet announcement Saturday, opposition leader Isaac Herzog said that he welcomed the arrests and that law enforcement authorities must pursue the suspects to the fullest extent of the law.
In a Facebook post, Herzog said he hoped the arrests would serve as a deterrent and a lesson for those who throw rocks or firebombs.