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Israeli court indicts Omar al-Abed on murder charges over Halamish stabbing attack

Aug. 24, 2017 8:34 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 25, 2017 4:25 P.M.)
Omar al-Abed
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- An Israeli court indicted on Thursday 19-year-old Omar al-Abed, a Palestinian resident of the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, who carried out a deadly stabbing attack in July that left three Israeli settlers dead.

Israeli news website Ynet reported that al-Abed was indicted on three charges of murder, seven charges of attempted murder, as well as conspiring to commit a crime and “additional offences.”

According to the indictment, al-Abed decided to carry out the attack in the illegal Halamish settlement -- which is located near his hometown of Kobar -- after three Palestinian citizens of Israel were killed on July 14 after they shot and killed two Israeli police officers in occupied East Jerusalem.

Ynet added that al-Abed allegedly initially planned to carry out the attack as a suicide bombing or with firearms.

On July 18, al-Abed reportedly told a Gaza woman that he was in contact with on Whataspp about his intentions to carry out a stabbing attack, allegedly writing that “we must wage jihad for the Al-Aqsa Mosque."

According to Ynet, the teenager gave the Gaza women the login details of his Facebook account and asked her to post his last will and testament to his Facebook page on the night he would carry out the attack. Ynet added that the woman tried to talk him out of carrying out the attack, but "he insisted he wanted to die as a martyr for the al-Aqsa Mosque.”

On Friday July 21, according to Ynet, al-Abed packed a a 22-centimeters-long knife into his backpack, along with heavy-duty scissors, and a Quran.

“When he arrived in Halamish, he stopped outside the settlement to pray and read from the Quran, while his Gazan friend posted his will on his Facebook page,” Ynet said.

Ynet reported that the teenager managed to bypass four fences before he reached the house of the Solomon family, which at the time, “was lit up and laughter could be heard coming from inside.”

According to Ynet, when al-Abed encountered the first settler, he asked her "What about al-Aqsa?" before stabbing and killing her.

Following the deadly attack, Omar’s mother Ibtisam spent a week in Israeli custody over accusations of "aggravated incitement" due to a video in which she allegedly praised her son's actions, before being released on a 10,000 shekel ($2,801) bail, only to be re detained some two weeks after.

On Monday, an Israeli military court ordered to extend the remand of al-Abed’s mother, father, two of his brothers, and uncle until August 27.

The six family members now face charges of having advanced knowledge of the attack, while al-Abed's home was punitively demolished by Israeli forces in response to the attack.

Meanwhile, some Israeli ministers have demanded that Omar be executed for the killings, despite Israel having only officially carried out the death penalty once -- against a Nazi war criminal -- since the state was established almost 70 years ago.

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