Mother of Halamish terrorist arrested for ‘incitement’
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Mother of Halamish terrorist arrested for ‘incitement’

Army says Ibtisam al-Abed expressed support for son, who killed three members of Salomon family in stabbing spree at settlement Friday night

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Ibtisam, the mother of terrorist Omar al-Abed who stabbed to death three Israelis in the Halamish settlement on July 21, 2017. (Screen capture: YouTube)
Ibtisam, the mother of terrorist Omar al-Abed who stabbed to death three Israelis in the Halamish settlement on July 21, 2017. (Screen capture: YouTube)

Israeli soldiers on Tuesday arrested the mother of a Palestinian terrorist who stabbed to death three Israelis in the Halamish settlement for suspected “aggravated incitement,” the army said.

On Friday, 19-year-old Omar al-Abed broke into the Halamish settlement, near Ramallah. There, he went into the Salomon family home and began a stabbing spree, killing three members of the family, grandfather Yosef, 70, and adult children, Elad, 36, and Chaya, 46. The grandmother, Tova, was also seriously injured.

Abed was shot and wounded by an off-duty soldier. He was arrested and taken to a hospital for treatment, and then transferred to Israeli security agencies for questioning.

Following the attack, Abed’s mother Ibtisam al-Abed appeared in a video that was widely shared on social media, in which she praised her son for the attack, saying she was “proud of him” and hoped he would be released from custody.

Israeli ZAKA emergency response members are seen in the Israeli settlement of Halamish, Saturday, July 22, 2017, a day after a Palestinian terrorist stabbed to death three members of the Salomon family there (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)
Israeli ZAKA emergency response members are seen in the Israeli settlement of Halamish, Saturday, July 22, 2017, a day after a Palestinian terrorist stabbed to death three members of the Salomon family there (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

On Monday, the family hosted guests and Abed’s mother handed out sweets. According to the military, she also “called for attacks on Jews.”

The military said these statements constitute incitement to violence.

She was arrested in their hometown of Kobar early Tuesday morning, the army said.

In an interview with the Haaretz newspaper published Monday, Ibtisam al-Abed was quoted offering support for some of her son’s actions.

“It’s not acceptable to me [what he did]. But the whole nation sees courage in his actions, going into an illegal settlement, fenced off and guarded. he didn’t injure children. He sent them away so they wouldn’t get hurt.”

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

According to Michal Salomon, whose husband Elad was killed in the attack, she hid their five children in an upstairs bedroom, while her husband fought off Abed until help could arrive.

Abed’s father Abd al-Jalil al-Abed also told Haaretz his son’s actions were understandable.

“I don’t support it, not the killing of Jews and not the killing of Arabs. But the reason for my son’s action is bigger than anything else: Al-Aqsa, the holy place for all Muslims. Omar saw what was happening, the worshipers who were beaten, stopping the prayer. I blame the occupation,” he said, referring to tensions over the Temple Mount that precipitated the attack.

19-year-old Omar al-Abed, the perpetrator of a terror attack in the settlement of Halamish on July 21, 2017 (Facebook photo)
19-year-old Omar al-Abed, the perpetrator of a terror attack in the settlement of Halamish on July 21, 2017 (Facebook photo)

Two other people were arrested in Kobar during the early morning raid, along with 22 Palestinian suspects from across the West Bank.

All but four of those suspects were picked up for so-called “popular terrorism,” a catch-all term used by the army to denote low-level activities, like rock throwing and taking part in violent demonstrations.

The other four suspects were arrested for allegedly belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization, the army said.

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