Terrorists initially intended to kidnap Henkins — prosecution
search

Terrorists initially intended to kidnap Henkins — prosecution

Four Palestinians indicted in attack last month that saw Israeli couple gunned down in front of their four children

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

The car in which Israeli couple Naama and Eitam Henkin were shot dead in a terror attack near the West Bank settlement of Itamar on Thursday, October 1, 2015. (United Hatzalah)
The car in which Israeli couple Naama and Eitam Henkin were shot dead in a terror attack near the West Bank settlement of Itamar on Thursday, October 1, 2015. (United Hatzalah)

The terrorists who allegedly shot dead Eitam and Naama Henkin in front of their children last month originally planned to kidnap them, according to indictments served on Thursday against the Palestinians accused in the attack.

Previously unpublished details of the October 1 incident were revealed in the indictments served in the Shomron Military Court against four members of an alleged five-man cell.

The four, arrested several days after the incident, were named as Yahia Muhammad Naif Abdullah Hajj Hamad, who carried out the shooting itself; Samir Zahir Ibrahim Kusah, the driver of the car, who has also been linked to previous terror attacks; gunman Karem Lufti Fatahi Razek, who was wounded by gunfire from one of his fellow cell members during the attack; and Zir Ziad Jamal Amar, who cleared the way for the car to carry out the attack, the prosecution said.

According to prosecutors, the four were part of a cell working for Hamas that planned to carry out shooting attacks against Israelis. The men allegedly carried out several earlier shooting attacks against Israeli targets.

More than a month before the Henkin slayings, Kusah and Hajj Hamad shot at an Israeli car near the settlement of Enav. Hajj Hamad fired 20 rounds at the car but only caused light injuries to the driver, Ronen Edri.

Frustrated by their lack of success, the group decided to kidnap Israelis instead, the indictment said.

After his arrest, Hamad told his interrogators that he had planned the attack as revenge for the July 31 firebombing of the Dawabsha family home in the Palestinian village of Duma, which killed a toddler and his parents. Defense officials say radical Jewish settlers carried out that attack, although police have yet to arrest any suspects.

Careful preparations for the kidnapping included obtaining plastic wrist restraints to use on their intended victims.

Eitam Henkin and Naama Henkin of Neria, who were murdered in a drive-by terror attack near Nablus on Thursday, October 1, 2015. (screen capture: Channel 2)
Eitam Henkin and Naama Henkin of Neria, who were murdered in a drive-by terror attack near Nablus on Thursday, October 1, 2015. (screen capture: Channel 2)

On the night of the attack, the group identified the Henkins’ car as a suitable target and began following it, the prosecution said. When they caught up with the vehicle, Hajj Hamad allegedly fired dozens of rounds at the Henkins, who were driving with their four children, aged 4 months, 4, 7 and 9, in the back. Eitam Henkin was hit and the car came to a halt at the side of the road.

Hajj Hamad and Razek then approached the vehicle with the intention of kidnapping the occupants, but the gravely wounded Eitam tried to fight them off, even attempting to take the gun away from Razek. Alarmed at his show of resistance, Hajja Hamad allegedly shot him at short range, killing him, and then turned his gun on Naama. The children were not hit by the gunfire, and the attackers later claimed they had decided not to harm them.

The military prosecutor noted that due to the complicated nature of the case, there would be more indictments filed individually against each of the accused.

At the time of their arrests, the Shin Bet security service named the cell leader as Ragheb Ahmad Muhammad Aliwi, a previously jailed Hamas fighter from Nablus, who allegedly recruited the other four, instructed them on how to carry out attacks and provided them with weapons.

Last weekend, security forces destroyed the Nablus residences of Hajj Hamad, Kusah, and Razek as a punitive measure.

The killing of the Henkins was seen as the start of a wave of Palestinian terror attacks that have so far killed 17 people, including five on Thursday.

read more:
comments