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2 Arab girls charged with attempting to murder security guard

14-year-olds from Ramle allegedly stabbed the man at the central bus station because they ‘wanted to die as martyrs’

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

File: Knives and contents of a backpack used by attackers in a stabbing in Ramle on February 4, 2016. (Israel Police)
File: Knives and contents of a backpack used by attackers in a stabbing in Ramle on February 4, 2016. (Israel Police)

Two 14-year-old girls from the central Israeli town of Ramle were charged Thursday in a juvenile court in nearby Lod with attempted murder, conspiracy to commit a crime and possession of a knife.

The stabbing incident for which they are accused took place at the working-class city’s central bus station on February 4. The building also houses a mall and government offices.

The charge sheet submitted by the central district prosecution said that around a month before the stabbing, the two discussed the wave of Palestinian attacks that has swept across Israel and the West Bank since September, and conspired to become “martyrs” and to be killed as part of a religious war by stabbing Jews to death, a police spokeswoman said.

The girls allegedly arranged to meet after hearing of a terror attack the day before — three Palestinians were killed as they opened fire on a group of border police near Jerusalem’s Old City, killing Hadar Cohen, 19. They resolved to meet again the following day and to bring kitchen knives to carry out a terror attack, the indictment said.

Emergency services at the site of a stabbing attack in Ramle, January 4, 2016. (Magen David Adom)
Emergency services at the site of a stabbing attack in Ramle, January 4, 2016. (Magen David Adom)

On February 4, one asked the other if she wanted to carry out the attack as planned and the second girl suggested they go to school first and carry out the stabbing in the afternoon. The first one then persuaded the second to do the stabbing in the morning, the charge sheet alleged.

Both girls took knives from their homes and hid them in their schoolbags. They set up watch at the mall and moved forward three times to carry out the stabbing but backed off when they saw there were no soldiers, only civilians.

Failing to find a soldier to stab, they decided to approach a security guard at the mall’s entrance. After the guard asked to check their bags, the girls pulled out the knives and began to stab him with the intention of murdering him, while shouting “Allah” and “Death to you!” During the scuffle that ensued, the guard fell to the ground, with one of the girls still trying to stab him, until the two were restrained by a soldier and a second guard.

The security guard, 25, was lightly wounded.

The mother of one of the two later issued an impassioned apology for her daughter’s actions, praised the guard for not opening fire on the girls, and said she hoped all of Israel would soon find peace.

Many of the recent attacks have been carried out by minors. Last month, a 13-year-old girl was shot and killed while trying to stab a guard in the West Bank settlement of Anatot outside of Jerusalem.

On Monday, an 11-year-old Jewish boy was stabbed and wounded in Ramle. A 17-year-old Arab youth was arrested a short time later on suspicion of carrying out the attack.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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