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Gan Shmuel attack suspect claims he acted in self-defense

Alaa Ziwad, 20, tells Haifa Magistrate’s Court he isn’t a terrorist after running over soldier, stabbing 3 others; court extends detention for 7 days

Suspect Alaa Raed Ahmad Zayoud at Haifa Magistrate's Court (Basel Awidat/Flash90)
Suspect Alaa Raed Ahmad Zayoud at Haifa Magistrate's Court (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

The suspect in a car-ramming and stabbing attack in northern Israel told the Haifa Magistrate’s Court Monday that he had acted in self-defense, a day after seriously wounding a soldier and moderately injuring three others.

Alaa Raed Ahmad Ziwad, 20, was arrested Sunday after his vehicle allegedly rammed into a female soldier on Road 65 near the entrance to Kibbutz Gan Shmuel, which lies northeast of Hadera, after which he stepped out of the car and stabbed three others at the scene.

The attack left the 19-year-old soldier in critical condition. The remaining victims — a 20-year-old male soldier, a 15-year-old girl and a 45-year-old man — were lightly to moderately injured.

Ziwad, a resident of the Israeli Arab town of Umm al-Fahm, some 12 miles from the scene of the attack, insisted during an arraignment at the Haifa court Monday that he got into an accidental car collision and then acted in self-defense when attacked.

Emergency responders at scene of stabbing on Route 65 near Hadera on October 11, 2015 (screen capture: Channel 2)
Emergency responders at scene of stabbing on Route 65 near Hadera on October 11, 2015 (screen capture: Channel 2)

“They’re trying to turn me into a terrorist, and I’m not one,” he said, according to Channel 2. “I didn’t try to murder Jews.

“I didn’t come to kill Jews,” he added.

“The suspect claims innocence,” Ziwad’s court-appointed attorney Wisam Araf said. “He also claims that after he was attacked, he tried to defend himself with the knife, and had no intention of carrying out a terror attack.”

Police prosecutors rejected Ziwad’s defense.

“This man decided to ram, stab and murder people,” a police prosecutor said at Ziwad’s remand hearing Monday.

The court extended Ziwad’s detention until October 21.

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