Palestinian nabbed for helping 3 terrorists in June’s Damascus Gate attack
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Palestinian nabbed for helping 3 terrorists in June’s Damascus Gate attack

West Bank man suspected of arranging transportation for trio who carried out stabbing and shooting spree in which Hadas Malka was killed

Border Police officer Hadas Malka, who was killed on June 16, 2017, in a stabbing attack near Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. (Courtesy)
Border Police officer Hadas Malka, who was killed on June 16, 2017, in a stabbing attack near Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. (Courtesy)

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.

Israeli forensic police check the body of a Palestinian assailant outside Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City on June 16, 2017 following a terror attack in which Israeli policewoman Hadas Malka was stabbed to death. (AFP PHOTO / Thomas COEX)
Israeli forensic police check the body of a Palestinian assailant outside Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City on June 16, 2017 following a terror attack in which Israeli policewoman Hadas Malka was stabbed to death. (AFP PHOTO / Thomas COEX)

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.

Israeli security forces at the scene of a terror attack near Damascus Gate in Jerusalem on June 16, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israeli security forces at the scene of a terror attack near Damascus Gate in Jerusalem on June 16, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

 

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.

Inciting materials found at the West Bank home of a Palestinian terrorist who participated in the June 16, 2017 stabbing attack in Jerusalem's Damascus Gate that killed Border Police staff sergeant Hadas Malka, in the village of Deir Abu-Mashal near Ramallah, June 21, 2017. (Courtesy IDF)
Inciting materials found at the West Bank home of a Palestinian terrorist who participated in the June 16, 2017 stabbing attack in Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate that killed Border Police staff sergeant Hadas Malka, in the village of Deir Abu-Mashal near Ramallah, June 21, 2017. (Courtesy IDF)

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.”

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