Palestinian woman indicted for Jerusalem stabbing attack

Palestinian woman indicted for Jerusalem stabbing attack

Defendant, reportedly a mother of 5, injured 2 people with knife before being overpowered, claims she wanted to be a ‘martyr’

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Israeli l forces at the scene of a stabbing attack near Damascus Gate in Jerusalem on August 12, 2017. One man was injured and the Palestinian assailant detained. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israeli l forces at the scene of a stabbing attack near Damascus Gate in Jerusalem on August 12, 2017. One man was injured and the Palestinian assailant detained. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Jerusalem prosecutors filed indictments Monday against an East Jerusalem woman accused of injuring two people in a terror attack in the capital that they allege she carried out in the hope of “dying as a martyr.”

Fadwa Hamada, 29, was indicted at the Jerusalem District Court on two counts of committing a terror act, attempted murder, and being in possession of a knife.

Prosecutors say Hamada, from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sur Baher, decided to kill Israeli citizens in a terror attack during which she would die as a “martyr.”

In the wake of the stabbing earlier this month, Hebrew and Arabic media reported Hamada is a mother of five children.

According to the indictments, on August 12 Hamada told her husband she wasn’t feeling well and took a cab to the area of the Damascus Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem, bringing a 12 centimeters (5 inch) knife with her in order to carry out the attack.

After exiting the vehicle she saw an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man walking back from prayers at the Western Wall. Hamada rushed at the man and tried to stab him.

“The accused, with the intention of carrying out her murder plan, pulled the knife out of her bag, approached the plaintiff, and attacked him…with the aim of killing him,” the indictment said.

The intended victim, raising his hands over his head to protect himself, was cut on his left arm. He started to run away with Hamada in pursuit, the knife still in her hand.

After a few meters she stopped and headed off in the other direction to pick up the bag she had dropped, and then ran off. As she did so she passed another man whom she approached and tried to stab. The second victim, who was in training to become a security guard on the Jerusalem Light Rail, suffered two deep cuts to his left hand.

He then pulled out his gun and shouted at Hamada to stop while also alerting security forces in the area. Hamada was restrained and then arrested. The second victim was taken to hospital for treatment to his wounds.

Police later released security video of the attack.

The attack occurred on Sultan Suleiman Street near Damascus Gate, the same street where Border Police officer Hadas Malka was stabbed to death in June.

Hebrew-language media reported at the time that the woman’s husband was arrested following the attack and that police raided the couple’s home in Sur Baher.

Over the past two years, the Old City, and the Damascus Gate in particular, have seen several attacks by Palestinians, and in two cases by Jordanian nationals.

Since September 2015, mainly Palestinian assailants have killed 48 Israelis, two visiting Americans, a Palestinian man and a British student, mainly in stabbing, shooting and vehicular attacks. In that time, some 259 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire, a majority of them attackers, according to authorities.

Israeli security officials believe that aside from the ostensible ideological motive, many of these attacks — particularly those carried out by women or young girls — are a form of “suicide by cop” or “suicide by soldier.”

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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