Palestinian charged over Petah Tikva stabbing attack
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Palestinian charged over Petah Tikva stabbing attack

Military court indicts Mansour Khatib of Qalqilya with attempted murder for allegedly stabbing Arab Israeli bus driver

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

The shawarma shop where a Palestinian man stabbed an Arab-Israeli bus driver in Petah Tikva, July 24, 2017 (Roy Alima/Flash90)
The shawarma shop where a Palestinian man stabbed an Arab-Israeli bus driver in Petah Tikva, July 24, 2017 (Roy Alima/Flash90)

A Palestinian man was charged with attempted murder on Wednesday for allegedly carrying out a stabbing terror attack in the central city of Petah Tikva last month, the army said.

According to the indictment, on July 24, Mansour Khatib, 21, stabbed an Arab Israeli man in the neck, wounding him moderately to severely, at a shwarma stand in the city center. The terrorist then fled on foot, but was eventually stopped by a local pizzeria worker who helped subdue him by hitting him with a wooden pizza tray.

“He stabbed a civilian multiple times until he was seriously wounded, and after thinking that he’d succeeded in killing him, [Khatib] continued on to another person,” the army said in a statement.

It appeared as though his choice of victim, an Arab Israeli man, was a case of mistaken identity, according to police.

The military prosecutor charged Khatib with attempted murder and with entering Israel illegally in order to carry out a terror attack.

The prosecutor also asked the court to keep Khatib in custody until the end of the trial.

The Shin Bet internal security agency said Khatib, who is from the West Bank city of Qalqilya, had been jailed in Israeli prison in 2015-2016 for violent activity against Israel.

The attack occurred during a period of heightened tensions over the Temple Mount complex in Jerusalem. Following a terror attack in which two police officers were shot and killed with guns that had been smuggled into the holy site, Israel set up a bank of metal detectors at entrances to the complex, which local Muslim leaders saw as an attempt to change the status quo.

According to the Hebrew media, the terrorist told police investigators that he carried out the attack in response to the Temple Mount situation. “I did it for Al-Aqsa,” he reportedly said.

Raoul Wooliff and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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