Prosecutors on Wednesday indicted Sanad al-Turman on terror charges of attempted murder for a car-ramming attack last month that injured a dozen Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem.
The indictment says that in the predawn hours of February 6, Turman rammed his car into a group of Golani soldiers standing on Jerusalem’s David Remez Street outside the First Station, a popular entertainment hub in the capital, injuring 12 of them.
The army said the soldiers were members of the Golani Brigade who were at the First Station during a “heritage tour” ahead of an early morning swearing-in ceremony at the Western Wall.
According to the indictment, Turman noticed soldiers marching during their trip, “slowing down his speed and traveling alongside the soldiers and contemplating carrying out a ramming attack,” before realizing he would not be successful, so he drove off.
However, six minutes later, he returned to the scene and decided to run over the soldiers. “He pressed the gas pedal, accelerated his speed and directed his vehicle toward the soldiers,” that were already on the ground, the indictment charged.
Turman’s family has consistently maintained that what happened was not a terror attack but rather a traffic incident caused when Turman accidentally mounted the sidewalk in his vehicle.
After the attack, Turman quickly fled the scene, abandoning his car in the West Bank town of Beit Jala, south of Jerusalem. He was arrested at the Gush Etzion Junction in the central West Bank; the Shin Bet security service had said he was a 25-year-old resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of A-Tur who had no history of terrorist activity.
Security officials have strongly denied it was an accident and the claim that Turman was on his way to turn himself in at the time of his arrest, saying that he broke through a roadblock while fleeing and that soldiers at the scene of the attack did not draw their weapons so he would not have felt in danger.
According to security officials, Turman had made several Facebook posts possibly signaling his intentions, writing in one update: “I’ve found my answers,” and in another: “Whoever seeks peace with the enemy is living under an illusion. Never surrender.”
The incident came amid a rise in tensions following the release of US President Donald Trump’s plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
On the same day as the car-ramming, an Israeli soldier was lightly wounded in a shooting attack along a highway near the central West Bank settlement of Dolev and a Border Police officer was lightly wounded when a terrorist opened fire at him near the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem.
The previous day, the Hamas terror group called on Palestinians to step up confrontations with Israel after Israeli security forces shot dead a Palestinian teenager, who the Israel Defense Forces said threw a Molotov cocktail at troops during clashes in the West Bank city of Hebron. Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, has frequently encouraged Palestinians in the West Bank to clash with Israeli security forces and settlers.
Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.