Palestinian comes forward after Israeli TV misidentifies him as Jerusalem terrorist

‘I did not perform the operation,’ Fadi Ayesh from Bethlehem says on Facebook, after Channel 12 news aired images of him and said he killed seven in Jerusalem

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

Fadi Ayesh. (Courtesy)
Fadi Ayesh. (Courtesy)

A Palestinian from the West Bank city of Bethlehem was falsely accused by Israeli television of being a terrorist behind a deadly shooting attack in Jerusalem on Friday night, prompting him to issue a clarification on Facebook.

Channel 12 news aired an image of Fadi Ayesh during a special broadcast on the terror attack in Neve Yaakov that left seven dead, saying he was the attacker.

The network’s military correspondent said Ayesh was an Israeli citizen and a member of the Hamas terror group from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat.

Channel 12 then aired a second picture of a man holding two assault rifles, and said it was an older picture of Ayesh.

The images and information about the attacker were all incorrect.

The second picture was of Raed Al Karmi, a Tanzim terror commander who was killed in an explosion attributed to Israel in 2002.

This push notification sent by Channel 12 news on January 27, 2023 shows an image of Raed Al Karmi. The text says: ‘The terrorist who committed the murderous attack: Fadi Ayesh, an Israeli citizen, resident of Shuafat. (Screenshot)

And the terrorist was later named as Alqam Khayri, 21, a resident of East Jerusalem’s at-Tur, with no prior terror-related offenses.

The network did not issue a clarification, but later in the broadcast said the images were published by Palestinian media, before the Shin Bet security agency released the actual terrorist’s name to reporters.

Ayash took to Facebook after the attack, writing in a post: “I am Fadi, I live in Bethlehem. I did not perform the operation, nor was involved in the operation.”

“God bless the martyrs,” he added.

The image aired by Channel 12 made the rounds online and was even printed on posters by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip celebrating the deadly attack.

Palestinians with posters of Fadi Ayesh in the Gaza Strip celebrate a deadly terror attack in Jerusalem, January 27, 2023. (Social media)

In another post on Facebook, Ayesh asked to have his pictures removed from online publications.

With seven killed, the shooting in Jerusalem was the deadliest terror attack since 2011, when terrorists crossed into Israel from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing eight Israelis. It was the deadliest Palestinian terror attack since 2008, when a gunman from East Jerusalem killed eight Israeli students at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva in the capital.

In a separate shooting on Saturday morning, a 13-year-old Palestinian shot and wounded two Israeli men near the Old City.

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