Halamish terrorist chose home because he heard laughter – indictment
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Halamish terrorist chose home because he heard laughter – indictment

Military prosecution files 10 charges against Omar al-Abed, including 3 of murder and 2 of attempted murder

Jacob Magid is the settlements correspondent for The Times of Israel.

Omar Al-Abed, in handcuffs, is brought to a courtroom for his trial at the Israel's Ofer military court near the West Bank city of Ramallah on August 17, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Omar Al-Abed, in handcuffs, is brought to a courtroom for his trial at the Israel's Ofer military court near the West Bank city of Ramallah on August 17, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

An indictment filed by the Israeli military prosecution Thursday against the terrorist who killed three members of the Salomon family said Omar al-Abed chose their home in the Halamish settlement after hearing laughter emerging from within.

The 19-year-old native of the neighboring Palestinian village of Kobar was charged with the murders of Yosef, Elad, and Chaya Salomon and the attempted murders of Yosef’s wife Tova and daughter-in-law Michal along with her five children.

Along with the indictment, military prosecution requested that Abed remain behind bars until the end of legal proceedings against him. The army also said that the Salomon family has been “constantly updated” on the proceedings against Abed.

After sneaking into Halamish late Friday night on July 21, the indictment said, Abed “noticed that the house to his right was dark and quiet, while the house to his left was lit up, with laughter emerging from within.”

(L-R) Yosef, Elad and Chaya Salomon who were stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist in the Halamish settlement on July 21, 2017. (Courtesy)
(L-R) Yosef, Elad and Chaya Salomon who were stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist in the Halamish settlement on July 21, 2017. (Courtesy)

The Salomon family had been celebrating the birth of a new grandson and assumed the knock on the door was from their first guest. Upon walking inside, Abed rhetorically asked Chaya, “What about Al-Aqsa,” before thrusting his knife to the hilt into her stomach, the indictment said.

In a Facebook post published before he set out from his village, Abed wrote that Palestinians needed to defend the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The previous day, heavy clashes broke out between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police in and around Jerusalem over new security measures at the Temple Mount, following a terror attack on July 14 in which three Israeli Arabs killed two Israeli police officers using weapons smuggled onto the site.

The 10 counts against Abed also include a charge of conspiracy to commit intentional manslaughter. For nearly six months prior to the murders in Halamish, Abed had sought to carry out a still more deadly attack against Israelis. He had met with a friend referred to in the indictment as Zohaib, and paid him NIS 500 in order to buy guns.

When Zohaib returned to Abed two months later and told him that he was unable to obtain the weapons, the 19-year-old suggested that the two of them carry out a stabbing attack instead. Zohaib told him that they should wait until they could obtain more deadly weapons, which would allow them to kill more Israelis. However, Abed was not satisfied and decided to sneak into Halamish later that day, the indictment said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara console relatives of the three members of the Salomon family who were killed in a terror attack in Halamish on July 22, 2017. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara console relatives of the three members of the Salomon family who were killed in a terror attack in Halamish on July 22, 2017. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

He had also been in contact with a resident of Gaza referred to as Reem, who tried at the last minute to convince him not to carry out the attack. But after Abed made up his mind, Reem agreed to publish the Facebook post on his behalf as he set out toward the neighboring settlement.

Along with a bottle of water, a knife and wire cutters, Abed also placed a Quran in his backpack, which he read from when he stopped to pray one last time before climbing over the first fence toward Halamish. He used the wire cutters to break through a second fence and managed to climb nearby trees to get over the third and fourth barriers to the settlement, the indictment said.

The scene of a deadly terrorist attack in the West Bank settlement of Halamish on July 21, 2017. (IDF Spokesperson)
The scene of a deadly terrorist attack in the West Bank settlement of Halamish on July 21, 2017. (IDF Spokesperson)

After killing Chaya, 46, the legal document said, Abed proceeded to stab Tova, 68, who managed to escape and run upstairs shouting “terrorist.”

He went on to stab Yosef, 70, in the stomach, causing the latter to collapse to the floor.

After sustaining three stab wounds, Elad managed to wrestle the knife from Abed’s hands. The two continued to fight until Abed grabbed a wooden cutting board and bashed it over Elad’s head, causing him to collapse. Abed proceeded to stab the father of five 12 times as his children hid upstairs with his wife, Michal.

Then, noticing that Yosef was still conscious, Abed stabbed the grandfather 15 more times until he too stopped moving. At this point, a neighbor, an off-duty soldier who heard the screams, managed to shoot and wound the terrorist through the kitchen window. He and his father secured the house and waited for IDF forces to arrive.

Elad Salomon, left, with his wife Michal and three of their kids. Elad was stabbed to death on July 21, 2017 in a terrorist attack at Halamish. (Courtesy)
Elad Salomon, left, with his wife Michal and three of their kids. Elad was stabbed to death on July 21, 2017 in a terrorist attack at Halamish. (Courtesy)

Since the attack, security forces have arrested the father, mother, two brothers and cousin of Abed, all of whom police say knew beforehand of his intention to carry out the stabbing yet took no action to stop him or inform Israeli or Palestinian authorities.

On August 16, Israeli forces demolished the Abed family’s home in Kobar.

After the demolition, Elad’s wife Michal said the measure was insufficient and called for harsher punishments for terrorists, including the death penalty.

“Their house can be rebuilt; my home has been destroyed forever,” she said in a statement. “We need the death penalty so that these terrorists will not be able to build a new home, and if not the death penalty, then we need to seriously toughen their imprisonment conditions and withhold from them everything but the minimum, things like television or the possibility of education.”

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