Alleged plotter behind fatal Old City stabbing nabbed
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Alleged plotter behind fatal Old City stabbing nabbed

Abed al-Aziz Mari suspected of buying knife, planning attack after he and killer Muhannad Halabi, 19, were turned away from Al-Aqsa

The victims of a fatal stabbing attack in Jerusalem on Saturday October 3, 2015: Nehemia Lavi, 41 (left) from Jerusalem, and Aharon Banita (Bennett), 22 (right) from Beitar Illit. (Courtesy)
The victims of a fatal stabbing attack in Jerusalem on Saturday October 3, 2015: Nehemia Lavi, 41 (left) from Jerusalem, and Aharon Banita (Bennett), 22 (right) from Beitar Illit. (Courtesy)

Police and the Shin Bet national security agency said Sunday they arrested a Palestinian man suspected of planning the fatal stabbing attack in the Old City in which two Israeli men were killed.

Abed al-Aziz Mari was accused of helping Muhannad Halabi, 19, cross into Jerusalem illegally, purchasing a knife, and planning out the attack.

Mari planned the attack after police turned him and Halabi away from praying at the Al-Aqsa mosque, according to Hebrew media reports.

Around 7 p.m. on October 3, Halabi stabbed and killed Aharon Banita and Rabbi Nehemia Lavi, and injured Banita’s wife, Adele and their two-year-old son. He was shot and killed by security forces at the scene.

Police said Mari, a resident of Abu Dis, bought the knife for NIS 50 in the Old City after the two were not permitted to pray at the holy site.

While Mari attributed the motive to the barred entry at the holy site, Halabi had written on his Facebook profile a day before the attack that the “third intifada is here.”

“According to what I see, the third intifada has erupted. What is happening to Al-Aqsa [mosque] is what is happening to our holy sites, and what is happening to the women of Al-Aqsa is what is happening to our mothers and women. I don’t believe that our people will succumb to humiliation. The people will indeed rise up,” wrote Halabi, a Ramallah resident and law student at Jerusalem’s al-Quds University.

Muhannad Halabi, 19, was identified as the terrorist who stabbed two Israelis to death in Jerusalem, October 3, 2015 (Facebook image)
Muhannad Halabi, 19, was identified as the terrorist who stabbed two Israelis to death in Jerusalem, October 3, 2015 (Facebook image)

Halabi was a member of Islamic Jihad, the terror group said immediately following the attack.

Banita, 21, an IDF soldier originally from France, was survived by his wife and two children. Lavi, 41, a father of seven who lived in the Old City, was killed after he ran out of his home upon hearing screams nearby.

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