A friend and two relatives of the Palestinian terrorist who killed four soldiers in a truck-ramming attack last week in southern Jerusalem were set be released from police custody on Sunday in the absence of evidence connecting them to the deadly attack.
Nine people were arrested in the immediate aftermath of last Sunday’s attack, including five members of Fadi al-Qunbar’s family, on suspicion they knew of his plans to carry out an attack but did nothing to prevent it.
A day later, a Jerusalem judge ordered Qunbar’s father, Ahmad, and sister Shadia released.
At the Monday hearing, the court extended the remand of five other suspects — brothers Hamza and Muhammad, cousin Muhammad, and two other residents of Jabel Mukaber — for a further seven days while police considered pressing charges of conspiracy to carry out a terror attack.
All of the suspects except for one of Qunbar’s brothers and one friend were to be released later Sunday after police decided not to seek an extended remand.
The remaining two suspects were transferred to Israel’s Shin Bet security service for further investigation.
Last week, after claims surfaced that some residents of East Jerusalem cheered and distributed sweets to passersby after the attack, the security cabinet ordered security services to detain and investigate anyone found praising or celebrating Qunbar’s actions.
Police during the week arrested five people for expressing support for attack.
On Tuesday, a 30-year-old man from the Bedouin southern city of Rahat was detained for posting a video on his Facebook page that called for people to carry out further car-rammings.
The video featured footage from last Sunday’s terror attack, showing Qunbar driving his truck into a group of Israeli soldiers, backing up and running over them again. In the background of the video a voice, speaking in Arabic, encouraged people to carry out similar attacks.
On Wednesday, four residents of the Old City in Jerusalem were detained for spray-painting graffiti declaring Qunbar’s truck-ramming an act of “resistance, not terror.”
Those suspects, who range in age from 13 to 20 years old, were arrested after police uncovered cans of spray paint during a search of their homes, a police spokeswoman said at the time.
The 13-year-old has since been released to house arrest, while the rest of the suspects will remain in police custody until the completion of the investigation.
The four soldiers killed in Qunbar’s truck-ramming — Lt. Yael Yekutiel, 20, of Givatayim, Lt. Shir Hajaj, 22, of Ma’ale Adumim, 2nd Lt. Erez Orbach, 20, of Alon Shvut, and 2nd Lt. Shira Tzur, 20, of Haifa — were buried on Monday.