Old City stabbing mastermind indicted

An indictment was filed Thursday with the Jerusalem District Court against terrorist accomplice Abed al-Aziz Meri for his connection to the stabbing on Haggai Street in Jerusalem’s Old City over Sukkot.

Rabbi Nehemiah Lavi, 41, and Aharon Bennett, 21, were both killed in the brutal attack, which occurred minutes after the end of Shabbat. Bennett’s wife, Adele, and their two-year old son were also injured.

Meri, a 21-year-old resident of Abu Dis, is charged with two counts of premeditated murder, attempted murder and terrorism financing.

According to the indictment, Meri has been a member of the Hamas terrorist organization for several years as part of its official education arm Al-Kutla al-Islamiya.

A month ago, 19-year-old Al-Bireh resident Mohannad Shafik Halabi turned to the defendant and asked for his help in illegally entering Israel to pray at the Al-Aqsa mosque atop the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

The defendant agreed and the pair crossed over the fence from Palestinian Authority-controlled town Abu Dis into Jerusalem.

After refusing to prevent their identity cards – which would have identified them as residents of the Palestinian territories – the two were denied access to the Temple Mount from multiple entrances.

Halabi reportedly then became furious, at which point Meri persuaded Halabi to carry out an attack against Jews, telling him it would be payback for being refused entry for prayers at Al-Aqsa.

Meri purchased a 50 shekel knife for Halabi at a store near the Damascus Gate with the agreement it be used in a “stabbing attack against Jews.” After Halabi turned over his ID card and cell phone to Meri, the two parted ways.

After hearing news of the successful stabbing, Meri pondered carrying out a similar attack. He was thwarted, however, and arrested by security forces three days after the Old City terror stabbing.