East Jerusalem man indicted for murder in bus attack
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East Jerusalem man indicted for murder in bus attack

Bilal Abu Ghanem accused of planning deadly attack in Armon Hanatziv; 2nd man indicted for assaulting tour guide at Jaffa Gate

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Richard Lakin and two others were killed in a bus attack in Jerusalem in October 2015 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Richard Lakin and two others were killed in a bus attack in Jerusalem in October 2015 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

An Arab resident of East Jerusalem was indicted at the city’s district court on Monday on three counts of premeditated murder for allegedly carrying out a terror attack last month on a bus in Jerusalem in which three people were killed.

According to the indictment, 21-year-old Jabel Mukaber resident and Hamas supporter Bilal Abu Ghanem convinced a second man, Baha Alyan, to join him in carrying out an attack.

The two men purchased a gun for NIS 20,000 ($5,000) and decided to carry out the attack on October 13 on a bus, in retaliation for the Israeli “intrusions in Al-Aqsa,” a mosque on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, and the “settlers who murder small children.”

Armed with the gun and a knife, Abu Ghanem and Alyan boarded Bus 78 in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood in the morning and waited several minutes for the bus to fill with passengers before they began stabbing and shooting people.

Police soon arrived at the scene and shot Abu Ghanem and Alyan in an effort to subdue them. Alyan died of his wounds shortly after the attack.

The prosecution requested that the court extend Abu Ghanem’s remand until the legal proceedings against him are completed.

Haim Haviv, 78, was killed Tuesday October 13, 2015 in a terror attack on a bus in Jerusalem's Armon Hanatziv neighborhood. His wife Shoshana was hospitalized in serious condition. (Courtesy)
Haim Haviv, 78, was killed Tuesday October 13, 2015 in a terror attack on a bus in Jerusalem’s Armon Hanatziv neighborhood. His wife Shoshana was hospitalized in serious condition. (Courtesy)

The stabbing and shooting spree claimed the lives of Haviv Haim, 78, and Alon Govberg, 51. Richard Lakin, 76, who was critically wounded, died some two weeks later.

An additional 15 people were injured in the attack, three of them seriously.

Another resident of Jabel Mukaber was indicted Monday by the Jerusalem District Court for carrying out an attack against Israelis.

Richard Lakin, who was killed in a terror attack in Jerusalem in October 2015 (via Facebook)
Richard Lakin, who was killed in a terror attack in Jerusalem in October 2015 (via Facebook)

Omar Alfrouk Abidaya, 22, stands accused of aggravated assault and attempt to cause serious injury to an Israeli tour guide in a racially motivated attack in Jerusalem last week.

According to the indictment, last Monday Abidaya approached a tour guide at Jaffa Gate in the Old City and said “Excuse me” to get her to turn toward him. After determining the woman was Jewish from her appearance, Abidaya began to repeatedly hit her over the head with a glass bottle.

Security camera footage showed the tour guide speaking to several tourists when she was attacked.

https://youtu.be/hFm8euUwyEI

Prosecutors have also asked for Abidaya’s remand to be extended until the end of the legal proceedings against him.

Also on Monday, a joint IDF-Shin Bet operation in the West Bank saw the arrest of suspected members of two local terror cells responsible for carrying out attacks against Jewish settlers, Israeli security forces and drivers on Route 443.

The Shin Bet said that one 20-year-old and two minors from the Palestinian village of al-Judeira were detained for throwing firebombs at passing Israeli cars earlier this year.

In a separate raid, Israel’s security service said it arrested at least four residents of the Palestinian village of Nabi Salih, outside Ramallah.

According to the Shin Bet, the suspects confessed to taking part in several violent incidents including throwing pipe bombs at the nearby Jewish settlement of Halamish and the Nabi Salih military outpost. The detainees also said they took part in recent protests and shot firecrackers and smoke bombs at Israeli security forces.

The arrests uncovered a large cache of weapons and tear gas, the agency said.

Since the beginning of October, 12 Israelis have been killed in near-daily Palestinian attacks amid widespread violence that has also rocked the West Bank and the Gaza border. At least 60 Palestinians have been killed in the latest round of violence, half of them attackers and the rest in clashes, according to Israel.

Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

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