Palestinian teen indicted for seriously wounding 2 in Jerusalem shooting

Prosecutors allege Muhammad Aliwat, 13, opened fire at family after deciding ‘to carry out a murderous terror attack against Jews’

Police at the scene of a terror shooting attack near Jerusalem's Old City, on January 28, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90)
Police at the scene of a terror shooting attack near Jerusalem's Old City, on January 28, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90)

Prosecutors on Wednesday filed terror charges against a Palestinian teenager from East Jerusalem who seriously wounded two Israelis in a recent shooting attack.

According to a statement from the State Attorney’s Office, Muhammad Aliwat, 13, learned to use a pistol after deciding “to carry out a murderous terror attack against Jews” at an unspecified date. Noting the suspect is a minor, the statement said the indictment would not be released.

On January 28, Aliwat allegedly took a gun and pair of magazines that his brother left in a trash can near their home in the Silwan neighborhood and went to look for Jews to attack outside the Old City.

Prosecutors said that after spotting a Jewish family walking by, Aliwat opened fire, wounding an off-duty IDF infantry officer and his father. In surveillance video from the scene, he can be seen waiting behind some parked cars before firing.

Aliwat was subsequently shot by the officer, who managed to return fire despite his wounds, and was taken by medics for treatment.

The indictment includes charges of attempted murder and a pair of weapons offenses.

On Sunday, Aliwat’s elder brother was charged in connection with the attack for leaving the firearm and ammunition used in the shooting. Prosecutors accused Omar Aliwat, 29, of various weapons offenses and said he will remain in custody until the end of legal proceedings.

The officer seriously wounded in the shooting remains hospitalized at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, though his family reported an improvement in his condition over the weekend. His father has since been released from medical care.

The attack last month came hours after seven people were killed and three were hurt in a shooting in the Neve Yaakov neighborhood, the deadliest Palestinian terror attack since 2008.

In the subsequent weeks, three Israelis — including two young brothers — were killed in a terror ramming in Jerusalem and a police officer was killed after a stabbing attack at the entrance to the capital’s Shuafat refugee camp.

In response, security forces have ramped up their presence and expanded operations in East Jerusalem and moved to permanently seal the homes of some assailants, including Aliwat.

The move is unusual in his case. As a matter of policy, Israel regularly demolishes or permanently seals the homes of Palestinians accused of carrying out deadly terror attacks, but has not done so for those who only wounded their victims.

The recent attacks came amid elevated regional tensions.

The IDF has pressed on with an anti-terror offensive mostly focused on the northern West Bank to deal with a series of attacks that left 31 people in Israel dead in 2022, and another 11 since the beginning of the year.

The IDF’s year-long operation has netted more than 2,500 arrests in near-nightly raids. 171 Palestinians were killed in 2022, and another 49 have been killed since the beginning of the year, most of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, but some were uninvolved civilians and others under more questionable circumstances that are being investigated.

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