Haifa teen stabber was motivated by death of Palestinian boyfriend – report

Police say 15-year-old told interrogators she was angered by Temple Mount clashes, wanted ‘to die a martyr’

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Police officers at the scene of a suspected terror stabbing in Haifa, on April 15, 2022. (Shir Torem/Flash90)
Police officers at the scene of a suspected terror stabbing in Haifa, on April 15, 2022. (Shir Torem/Flash90)

A teenage girl who stabbed a man in Haifa two weeks ago was reportedly seeking to avenge the death of her Palestinian boyfriend, who died of wounds he sustained while attempting to attack Israeli security forces in Jenin.

The 15-year-old Arab Israeli told police investigators that she became motivated to carry out the attack on April 15 after the young man she was romantically involved with died of his wounds that morning, the Walla news site reported Thursday.

Police said she was angered by videos on social media showing clashes atop the Temple Mount, which her father told an Israeli news network had incited her to violence.

“During her interrogation, the suspect stated that she committed the act under the influence of social media and that she wanted to carry out the attack in order to die as a martyr,” police said Thursday.

The girl, who has not been named because she is a minor, appeared at the Haifa Magistrate’s Court on Thursday and had her remand extended until Monday. She is expected to be formally indicted in the coming days.

At least 25 Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli soldiers during raids in the West Bank in recent weeks, including 17-year-old Shawkat Kamal Abed, from Kafr Dan, who was critically hurt on April 14 during clashes with Israeli troops in the town near Jenin, according to Palestinian media reports.

Before the stabbing, the teenage girl’s father informed police that his daughter said she intended to carry out an attack.

A knife used in a stabbing in Haifa, April 15, 2022. (Israel Police)

According to law enforcement officials, the girl approached a 47-year-old man at HaZikaron Garden, adjacent to Haifa’s city hall, and hit him on the back of the head with a brick, then stabbed him in the hand and leg as he fell to the ground.

Officers, who were searching for her with her father, arrived at the scene and arrested her with the knife still in her hand “seconds after the terror attack,” police officials said. According to police, two more knives were found in a nearby bag belonging to the girl that she allegedly intended to use.

The victim, also a local, was released a day after the attack from Rambam Medical Center. The hospital said he suffered several superficial wounds that did not require surgery.

According to Hebrew-language media reports, the suspect’s father had previously assisted the IDF and Shin Bet but moved with his family from a village near the West Bank city of Tulkarem to Haifa after his identity was exposed several years ago.

He also reportedly has a son and is raising his children alone following the death of his wife.

The attack came amid heightened tensions in Israel and the West Bank, following a string of deadly terror assaults in Israeli cities that left 14 people dead, and clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinians.

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