Terror charges filed against Palestinian who stabbed coworker in Petah Tikva garage

Initially suspected to be a brawl, August 10 incident was a planned nationalistic attack by West Bank resident Muhammad Bassiouni, prosecutors say

Michael Bachner is a news editor at The Times of Israel

Illustrative: A policeman holds handcuffs. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
Illustrative: A policeman holds handcuffs. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

A terror indictment was filed Monday against a Palestinian from the Nablus area in the West Bank over a stabbing incident in central Israel earlier this month that was initially believed to have been a brawl.

Muhammad Bassiouni, 35, is accused of attempting to murder an Israeli employee who worked with him in the same Petah Tikva garage.

According to the indictment, Bassiouni had a valid work permit and slept in Petah Tikva most of the time.

“At some point, he decided to kill the son of one of the garage owners, who worked with him at the place,” the indictment read, according to a statement by prosecutors.

On August 10, Bassiouni allegedly took a kitchen knife and attacked his fellow worker at an isolated area in the garage, stabbing him in the chest and upper body while yelling “Allahu akbar” (“God is greatest” in Arabic).

The worker cried for help and fended off the attacker until the victim’s uncle came in. Bassiouni punched the uncle in the face and threatened him with the knife, before turning back to his original target, who was lying on the floor, according to the indictment. The two physically struggled until the attacker’s knife broke in two, after which the Palestinian hit his victim in the face with the knife handle.

Bassiouni is also accused in the indictment of picking up a car battery and threatening to throw it at the fellow worker, and of taking a metal bar and smashing the worker’s cellphone until it caught fire.

He then allegedly changed his shirt and headed to a nearby street while saying “Allahu akbar.” He boarded a bus and demanded to be taken to Jerusalem.

At that point, the garage owner arrived and convinced Bassiouni to get off the bus, and he was arrested.

The Israeli worker was hospitalized in serious and unstable condition, suffering from multiple stab wounds, cuts and bruises.

Bassiouni is charged with attempted murder with a terror motive, aggravated assault with a terror motive, and obstruction of justice.

The indictment was filed at the Central District Court in Lod, alongside a request to keep him in custody until the end of court proceedings against him.

The incident was at the time reported as a suspected brawl, with the suspect apparently misidentified as a Jordanian resident.

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