The father of a 15-year-old girl suspected of a terror stabbing in Haifa said online videos incited his daughter to attack Jews.
The teenage girl decided to carry out the attack after watching YouTube videos of Israeli police clashing with Palestinians on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the father told Channel 12.
The compound in Jerusalem’s Old City is the holiest site for Jews, and its Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third-holiest place for Muslims. It is a frequent flashpoint and the emotional epicenter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
On Friday morning, hundreds of Palestinians fought with police at the site, resulting in widespread arrests. Tens of thousands later attended peaceful Ramadan prayers at the mosque.
“On Friday, with all the protests, she started watching those videos,” the father told Channel 12 in an interview broadcast on Sunday.
He showed the network his television’s viewing history, indicating that she watched footage of the clashes immediately before setting out on her attack.
“Two days ago, just two days ago, this is on the day that she did it,” he said, pointing to a series of videos about the Temple Mount.
The father, who remained anonymous in the interview, said he was raising four children by himself.
He said he was at work and became worried about his daughter’s whereabouts after he called home, and appealed to one of her friends. The friend told the father that his daughter “went to Jerusalem to become a martyr.”
The father told Channel 12, “I called the police. I told them, ‘Help me, my daughter is lost, she’s gone to kill herself, went to Jerusalem.” The police were unable to locate her before the stabbing.
“I’m asking for help for not only my daughter, but for all the youth in that environment, in the Arab community, because this is a disease that’s spreading to everyone,” he said, referring to incitement to violence.
The 15-year-old is suspected of stabbing a 47-year-old man on Friday, wounding him. Police have described the stabbing as a likely nationalist-motivated attack. Both the stabber and the victim are from Haifa, a mixed Arab-Jewish city in northern Israel.
The man who was stabbed was released Saturday from Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center. The hospital said he suffered several surface wounds that did not require surgery.
Ynet reported that the girl admitted to investigators that she wanted to stab Jews and quoted relatives saying she was incensed by images from clashes between Palestinians and police on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City that morning.
The report said the father was briefly detained after the stabbing but later released.
The suspected attack comes amid heightened tensions in Israel and the West Bank, following a string of deadly terror assaults in Israeli cities that left 14 dead, and clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinians. At least 16 Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli soldiers in the past two weeks alone.
The escalation has come amid the Muslim holy month of Ramadan — often a period of high tension in Israel and the West Bank.
The military has stepped up its West Bank activities in an attempt to crack down on the spiraling violence.