Prosecutors on Wednesday were set to charge two men over their involvement in the June slaying of a Border Police officer at the Old City of Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate, alleging that they helped the assailants enter the city illegally to carry out the attack, a police spokesperson said.
The two suspects, neither of whom were named, are accused of respectively driving the attackers, along with other West Bank Palestinians lacking entry permits, to Jerusalem, and arranging for their transport into Israel, according to police. The suspects are a resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya and a West Bank Palestinian, police said.
They are expected to be indicted by the Jerusalem prosecutor’s office.
The 52-year-old Issawiya resident was arrested immediately following the June killing of Hadas Malka, while the Palestinian man was arrested in late June.
Investigators believe the Issawiya man knew the intentions of his passengers but did not attempt to stop them or warn authorities.
In addition to the two men, the parents of the man who stabbed Malka to death remain in police custody.
The border policewoman was on patrol outside the Old City walls when she was attacked on Sultan Suleiman Street near Damascus Gate of the Old City in Jerusalem. She fought her attacker while attempting to draw her weapon.
She was stabbed in the chest and transferred in critical condition to Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus in Jerusalem, where she underwent emergency surgery but succumbed to her injuries.
Malka had been in a group of security personnel responding to an attack moments earlier by two other Palestinian assailants, who targeted troops with knives and an automatic weapon at the adjacent Zedekiah’s Cave.
All three attackers, identified as West Bank Palestinians, were killed.
The police investigation found that the Issawiya resident drove to Ramallah in the West Bank a day before the attack, on June 15, where he collected the West Bank residents and transported them to Jerusalem to pray at the Temple Mount during the holy month of Ramadan.
The investigation found that the driver took them on a roundabout route through the south of the country to reach the capital. When they arrived in Jerusalem he dropped off all of the passengers at Damascus Gate. The statement did not detail the movements of the three attackers in the period of time before they assaulted police at the gate the following day.
Israeli law enforcement has long attempted to tamp down on Palestinians entering Israel illegally, most of whom are employed in construction and other low-paying work. A number of attacks inside Israel have been carried out by Palestinians who came in with others sneaking through to seek employment.
Following a request by police investigators from the IDF Military Advocate to open an investigation on crimes of incitement to violence and terror, the mother of one the attackers was arrested, and last week his father was also arrested, both residents of the West Bank village of Deir Abu Mashal near Ramallah.
The parents were arrested because of statements they made after the incident in which they expressed support for attacks on Jews, according to police.
Police said its central investigations unit will “continue in its efforts to locate anyone who had a hand in any way in the attack and any statements that have an element of incitement.”