Israeli security forces overnight Saturday arrested a Palestinian man suspected of attacking and critically wounding an Israeli security guard with an ax in the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim on Thursday.
The Shin Bet said that in a joint operation with the IDF and Israel Police, it apprehended Saadi Ali Abu Ahmad, born in 1995, of al-Eizariya, adjacent to Ma’ale Adumim. He possessed a permit to work in settlements, the Shin Bet said, and according to reports may have known the victim, Tzvika Cohen, 48.
Cohen, who was unarmed, was attacked at the town’s mall late Thursday night. He was struck multiple times in the head and upper body with an ax. The attacker fled the scene, dropping the ax outside.
Abu Ahmad confessed to carrying out the brutal attack, the Shin Bet said in a statement Sunday. A relative of Abu Ahmad called police on Saturday night and said that the suspect was staying with him and that he was prepared to turn himself in, the Mako news site reported.
Cohen remained in very serious condition Saturday night. A spokesperson for Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Kerem, Jerusalem, said that he was sedated and in intensive care after undergoing surgery, Israel Radio reported.
“They crushed his head with ax blows,” Cohen’s brother Moshe told Army Radio on Sunday morning. “He is still in serious condition, anesthetized and hooked up to a respirator. Tomorrow they’ll try to wake him up.”
Walla news reported that the attack occurred inside the mall’s offices, and police were investigating how the assailant had managed to reach the site unimpeded.
Police closed off the settlement following the attack, and said Palestinian laborers would not be allowed to enter until Sunday.
But, according to Channel 10 on Saturday, that ban was later extended until Thursday, with the exception of “essential staff.”