Palestinian teen convicted in Jerusalem stabbing attack

Court finds 14-year-old Ahmed Manasra guilty of attempted murder for knifing two Israelis in Pisgat Ze’ev last year

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

14-year-old Ahmed Manasra seen at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on May 10, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
14-year-old Ahmed Manasra seen at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on May 10, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

An East Jerusalem teen was convicted Tuesday on two counts of attempted murder for a stabbing attack carried out when he was 13 years old.

The Jerusalem District Court convicted Ahmed Manasra, now 14, for the stabbing attack in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Ze’ev last year that injured two Israelis.

Manasra was arrested in October after he and his 15-year-old cousin Hassan Manasra stabbed two Israeli civilians in the capital’s Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood. Police responding to the incident fatally shot Hassan, and Ahmed was seriously injured when he was hit by a car as he tried to escape the scene of the attack.

In the conviction, the court rejected the defense presented by Manasra’s attorneys that the cousins had no intention of murdering the Israelis, but simply wanted to “scare the Jews.”

According to the indictment, the teens stabbed two Israelis — a 13-year-old identified as Naor, who was critically injured; and a 25-year-old, who was moderately injured.

State prosecutor Yuval Kedar welcomed the ruling, and rebuffed potential backlash over court’s decision to convict a young teen of a crime that carries a hefty prison sentence.

“The fact that the defendant is a minor is irrelevant,” Kedar said. “The defendant’s actions come in the midst of this ongoing wave of terrorism, which has already claimed so many victims, where the attacks are often times carried out by minors.

“We want to prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law and ensure that he is punished severely,” he added.

According to Israeli law, minors under the age of 14 are considered below the age of criminal responsibility and cannot be sentenced to prison.

Manasra turned 14 in January, after an indictment was filed.

According to reports, the court has yet to set a date for his sentencing.

Manasra’s case became a lightning rod for both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian divide after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas erroneously claimed in a televised speech that Israelis had “summarily executed” Ahmed. The 13-year-old at the time was recovering at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center.

In the days following the attack, police released security camera footage of the Manasra cousins wielding knives and chasing a man through the streets of Pisgat Ze’ev on the morning of October 13.

A video was also leaked of him being treated at a Jerusalem hospital.

Ahmad Manasra, one of two cousins who went on a stabbing spree in Jerusalem on October 12, 2015 is seen at the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem on October 15, 2015. Manasra was hit by a car while fleeing from the scene of the attack. (Courtesy)

Manasra at first admitted to carrying out the attack, but later walked back his confession and tearfully claimed he could not remember carrying out the stabbing.

Since October, a wave of Palestinian terrorism and violence has killed 29 Israelis and four foreign nationals.

Some 200 Palestinians were killed in the same period, most of them as they carried out attacks against Israelis and the remainder in violent protests in the West Bank, according to the IDF.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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