search

Brother of suspected Palestinian stabber arrested amid scrutiny over police shooting

West Bank resident suspected of knowing of attack plans or of helping slain suspect; cab driver accused of driving alleged terrorist to Jerusalem ordered held 5 more days

Israeli security forces at the scene of stabbing attack outside the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, on December 4, 2021. (Jamal Awad/Flash90)
Israeli security forces at the scene of stabbing attack outside the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, on December 4, 2021. (Jamal Awad/Flash90)

Israeli forces on Sunday arrested the brother of a suspected Palestinian terrorist who carried out a stabbing attack in Jerusalem, the Shin Bet security agency confirmed.

The brother, who is suspected of having prior knowledge of Muhammad Salima’s intentions to carry out an assault and of possibly assisting him, was detained at home in the West Bank town of Salfit.

Salima, 25, stabbed an Israeli civilian near the Old City of Jerusalem on Saturday afternoon before being shot dead by Border Police officers, Israeli authorities said.

Also Sunday, a judge ordered a taxi driver suspected of transporting Salima to be held in custody for at least five more days.

The man, a resident of the “triangle” of Arab towns in northern Israel in his 40s, is suspected of assisting Salima.

The Justice Department’s internal investigations unit has launched a probe into the incident after video from the scene showed the officers firing at the suspect several times as he was already lying on the ground, but still moving.

Police later released video of the entire incident, showing that the officers did not immediately fire at the assailant, doing so only after he moved, apparently trying to get up.

Border Police chief Amir Cohen met with the two officers on Sunday and gave them back their guns, which were taken when they were questioned over the shooting.

He also ordered that they return to operational duty.

Public Security Minister Omar Barlev and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett earlier voiced support for the two border guards.

“The [officers] acted as required,” Barlev told the Ynet news site. “There was no space for doubt as to whether the terrorist had an explosive belt or not, so they acted correctly.”

The officers have said they feared he was still dangerous when they shot him, and they did not know what he was holding or concealing on his person.

The two officers killed the suspected terrorist after he stabbed Avraham Elimelich, an ultra-Orthodox man, in the neck, then attempted to attack the officers. The incident took place on a street near the Old City’s Damascus Gate.

read more:
comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed