Police said Sunday they had arrested a Palestinian man who arranged transportation for three terrorists who entered Jerusalem illegally and carried out a deadly attack last month, and vowed to crack down on others aiding illegal entry into Israel.
Police said the West Bank resident organized transport for a group of Palestinians who did not have entry permits, including three men who carried out a combined shooting and stabbing attack near Jerusalem’s Old City that left border guard Hadas Malka dead on June 16.
He was arrested last week, joining three others who are being held — the man who drove the three, and the parents of the man who stabbed Malka to death.
The border policewoman was on patrol outside the Old City walls when she was attacked on Sultan Suleiman Street near Damascus Gate of the Old City in Jerusalem. She fought her attacker for several seconds while attempting to draw her weapon, according to a Border Police statement. She was stabbed in the chest and transferred in critical condition to Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus in Jerusalem, where she underwent emergency surgery but succumbed to her injuries.
Malka had been in a group of security personnel responding to an attack moments earlier by two other Palestinian assailants, who targeted troops with knives and an automatic weapon at the adjacent Zedekiah’s Cave.
All three attackers, identified as West Bank Palestinians, were killed.
Immediately after the attack police arrested a 52-year-old resident of East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya on suspicion of driving the three attackers, along with other West Bank Palestinians, to Jerusalem.
Investigators believe the man knew the intentions of his passengers but did not attempt to stop there and warn authorities.
According to the statement, the driver and the transportation organizer are being held on suspicion of causing death through negligence.
The investigation found that the Issawiya resident drove to Ramallah in the West Bank a day before the attack, on June 15, where he collected the West Bank residents and transported them to Jerusalem to pray at the Temple Mount during what was, at the time, the holy month of Ramadan.
The investigation found that the driver took them on a roundabout route through the south of the country to reach the capital. When they arrived in Jerusalem he dropped off all of the passengers at Damascus Gate. The statement did not detail the movements of the three attackers in the period of time before they assaulted police at the gate the following day.
Israeli law enforcement has long attempted to tamp down on Palestinians entering Israel illegally, most of whom are employed in construction and other low-paying work. A number of attacks inside Israel have been carried out by Palestinians who came in with others sneaking through to seek employment.
“Anyone who helps [West Bank] people stay illegally in Israeli territory needs to know and expect that among them may be a terrorist who is looking to carry out a terror attack,” said police spokeswoman Luba Samri in a statement.
“The police are constantly continuing activities to prevent the entry of residents of the territories without permits, with an emphasis on the Jerusalem area, and will prosecute anyone taking part in this,” a police statement read.
Police cited incitement in arresting the parents of one of the attackers.
Following a request by police investigators from the IDF Military Advocate to open an investigation on crimes of incitement to violence and terror, the mother of one the attackers was arrested, and last week his father was also arrested, both residents of the West Bank village of Deir Abu Mashal near Ramallah.
The parents were arrested because of statements they made after the incident in which they expressed support for attacks on Jews, police said.
On Sunday the Issawiya resident and the West Bank Palestinian who organized travel to Jerusalem were to be brought before a magistrate’s court for an extension of their arrest.
The IDF military court was also expected to extend the detention of the father. On Monday the mother of the attacker will be brought to court for an extension of her detention, the statement said.
Police said its central investigations unit will “continue in its efforts to locate anyone who had a hand in any way in the attack and any statements that have an element of incitement.”