Police on Tuesday said that a pre-indictment notice had been filed against five family members of a Palestinian terrorist on suspicion of having failed to prevent him from carrying out a deadly attack in which he stabbed to death three members of a family at their home in the West Bank settlement of Halamish.
Since last month’s attack, Israeli security forces have arrested the father, mother, two brothers and cousin of Omar al-Abed, who police say knew beforehand of Abed’s intention to carry out the stabbing yet took no actions to stop him or inform Israeli or Palestinian authorities.
Police said the case has been handed over to Israel Defense Forces’ prosecutors, whose filing of the pre-indictment notice at the Ofer military court in the West Bank will allow authorities to continue to hold the family members in custody until they are indicted.
Hours after the attack, the IDF raided Abed’s home in Kobar, mapped it for demolition and arrested another one of his brothers, whom officials suspect aided him in carrying out the attack.
In the ensuing days, the army also arrested Abed’s mother, Ibtisam, for “aggravated incitement,” after she appeared in a widely shared video praising her son’s actions.
Abed’s father, Abd al-Jalil, who was arrested in the initial raid, told the Haaretz daily last month that his son’s actions were understandable.
Security forces also arrested another of Abed’s brothers and his cousin overnight Saturday.
On the eve of July 21, 19-year-old Abed left his village, climbed over the Halamish fence, and knocked on the door of the Salomon family home.
The family had been celebrating the birth of a new grandson and thought that Abed was the first guest to arrive. Shortly after walking in, the young Palestinian took out his knife and stabbed to death Yosef Salomon, 70, and his two children, Chaya, 46, and Elad, 36. Yosef’s wife, Tova, sustained several stab wounds to her back but survived.
An off-duty IDF soldier heard the screams, grabbed his gun and shot the terrorist through the Salomons’ kitchen window, wounding him.
Although there has been considerable political support, notably from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for seeking the death penalty against Abed, the Military Advocate General’s office, which will try the case in an IDF court, said that the punishment is not Israeli policy, despite it being permissible under law.