Ahmed Manasra, a 13-year-old Palestinian boy who allegedly took part in a stabbing spree in which an Israeli his age was critically wounded Monday, and who PA President Mahmoud Abbas claimed was killed in cold blood by Israeli police, reportedly admitted Thursday to carrying out the attack in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Zeev.
“I went there to stab Jews,” he told investigators at the Hadassah Hospital where doctors have been treating him for wounds he sustained during the incident, police said.
Manasra said he was motivated to carry out the attack by the Palestinian claim that Israel has been trying to change the status quo on the volatile Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Israel has repeatedly rejected such allegations.
Manasra is accused of seriously injuring a 13-year-old boy and a 25-year-old man.
He said his accomplice, his cousin Hassan Manasra, 15, persuaded him to carry out the attack, the police said. The elder Manasra was shot dead when he lunged at police with a knife, while Ahmed was injured when he was hit by a car while attempting to flee the scene.
“I came with my cousin Hassan,” he reportedly said. “He brought the knives and I agreed to join him.”
Palestinian officials and relatives have claimed the two cousins were not involved in an attack and were unjustly targeted.
“My son cannot stab, he doesn’t know how to hold a knife,” Ahmed Manasra’s father said on Tuesday.
But on Wednesday, police released footage showing the two brandishing knives and chasing a man down the street.
The footage then showed an Israeli boy leaving a store on his bike, apparently before being stabbed by one of the two cousins. The video ends with one of the attackers charging at police before being shot several times.
Amateur video widely circulated on the day of the attack on Palestinian social media sites showed the wounded Ahmed lying on the ground after being struck, his legs splayed and a pool of blood near his head. Bystanders could be heard cursing the boy in Hebrew and yelling at him, “Die!” The images, which made no mention of the stabbing, have enraged many Palestinians.
On Wednesday night Mansara became the focus of international media when Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of “executing our boys in cold blood, as they did with the boy Ahmed Manasra and other children in Jerusalem and other places.”
The Prime Minister’s Office swiftly issued a statement after the speech, noting Mansara was alive and had initiated a terror attack, and accusing Abbas of spreading “lies and incitement.”
“The boy he is referring to is alive and hospitalized in Hadassah after stabbing an Israeli child who was riding his bicycle,” the statement said.
On Thursday, the Government Press Office released photos and video of Manasra awake and sitting in a bed at the hospital.
In a Thursday press conference, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used Abbas’s claims of Manasra’s killing to highlight what he termed “continuous Palestinian incitement.”
“The current terror campaign in Israel is a result of continuous Palestinian incitement. First, on the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the outrageous claims that we are changing the status quo there or intend to destroy it, and now we have a new big lie,” he said. “That new big lie is that Israel is executing Palestinians.”
The younger Manasra “was treated by a multidisciplinary team of physicians, especially neurosurgeons” and received the best care available, Professor Yoram Weiss, the director of Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center, said at Netanyahu’s press conference. “Nothing was spared to take of his injury. At this point, he’s awake, he’s conscious, he’s eating, he’s watching TV and he’s stable.”
Times of Israel staff and AP contributed to this report.
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