The 13-year-old Palestinian teenager who allegedly took part in a stabbing attack earlier this month in which two Israelis were injured, one critically, will be charged with attempted murder.
The prosecution said it was filing the indictment on Friday with the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court.
Ahmed Manasra was seriously injured when he was hit by a car while trying to flee the scene of the attack in Jerusalem’s Pisgat Zeev neighborhood on October 12, and his accomplice-cousin Hassan Manasra, 15, was shot dead by security forces after charging at police with a knife. The pair allegedly stabbed two Israelis — a 13-year-old, who was critically injured; and a 25-year-old, who was moderately injured.
Ahmed was treated in Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital and arrested upon his release last week.
Manasra at first admitted to carrying out the attack, but then walked back his confession.
Nonetheless, the prosecution is likely to face some legal hurdles in the case. According to Israeli law, a minor under the age of 14 cannot face jail time. Manasra will turn 14 in January. In the meantime, the prosecution can ask for a prison sentence in a juvenile facility if he is convicted of attempted murder. The prosecution is said to be looking into the possibility of postponing the court proceedings until after Manasra’s birthday in three months’ time, according to Channel 2.
Also on Friday, several indictments were filed against a host of other Palestinians who carried out attacks over the past month. A 19-year-old Palestinian male from Shuafat was indicted for attempted murder, possession of a knife and an attempt to steal a security guard’s weapon on the Jerusalem light rail earlier this month; a 16-year-old Palestinian girl from East Jerusalem’s Beit Hanina was indicted for an attempted stabbing attack over two weeks ago in Ammunition Hill; and a 25-year-old Hebron resident, Tamer Waridat, was indicted for attempted murder after he stabbed an Israeli man in Petah Tikva on October 7, injuring him moderately.
Last week, at a remand extension hearing for Manasra, the teen complained of harassment by Israeli jailers.
“I request not to be brought here anymore, the prison guards and prisoners humiliate me,” Manasra told the court. His lawyers said they plan to file a complaint over alleged abuse, threats and harassment of Manasra by prison guards.
At the hearing, Manasra’s lawyers restated their client’s claim that he didn’t stab the two Israelis. “He indeed held a knife, but he didn’t stab anyone,” attorneys Tareq Barghout and Lea Tsemel were quoted by Walla telling the court. “His cousin is the one who stabbed. It’s a 13-year-old boy who isn’t responsible for his actions.”
“I didn’t stab anybody because I don’t like blood,” he told investigators earlier this month.
“In the middle [of the attack],” he explained, “I changed my mind. The person who actually committed the stabbings was Hassan,” he claimed, according to a report on the Walla news site.
The two Israelis who were stabbed and seriously wounded in the attack were both released from the hospital last week.
Manasra is the youngest attacker in a wave of Palestinian stabbing and shooting attacks against Israelis that began at the start of this month. The average age of the attackers is estimated at between 19 and 20 years old.
Manasra became the center of an Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic spat after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas spoke out against “aggression by Israel and its settlers, who commit terror against our people,” and who “execute our children in cold blood, as they did to the child Ahmed Manasra and other children in Jerusalem and elsewhere.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Abbas of spreading “incitement and lies” in his claim. An official from Abbas’s office later walked back the accusation, saying the PA chief was misled.