Motive in Rock Throwing Attack That Injured 2-Year-Old Was ‘Hatred of Jews,’ Hamas Leader Son Arrested
by Joshua Levitt
Jerusalem Police said on Tuesday that one of the assailants involved in the rock throwing attack that injured toddler Avigail Ben-Zion was the son of a senior Hamas official, while the group admitted their motive was “hatred of Jews,” elevating the attack from senseless violence to what may be considered a nationalistic crime, Israel’s Channel 2 reported.
Five men were arrested on Monday and held for questioning on suspicion of throwing stones at the car driven by Avigail’s mother last Thursday outside Jerusalem. The four Arab teenagers originally arrested the day after the attack have since been released, the police said.
During last night’s interrogation, the five new detainees implicated themselves in the crime and claim they “committed the act because of hatred of Jews,” police said. One of the suspects is the son of a Hamas leader who was a member of the legislature of the movement.
The police investigation revealed that as soon as they realized that they had damaged the vehicle and thought they had killed Avigail, the suspects tried to coordinate a common alibi, saying they were at the village dentist.
Officer Elmaleh, head of the Special Operations Investigation Squad at the Jerusalem District’s Central Unit, told reporters at a briefing on Tuesday that “we treated the incident as a terrorist attack, and we used all the tools at our disposal. We had significant progress in the investigation, after which we conducted two further arrest operations.”
“We have five detainees involved in the incident,” Elmaleh said. “Four of them were interrogated and confessed and also tied the others to the event. Some of [the suspects] are still being investigated. We are talking about an incident that was planned and timed. They met before the incident and planned to arrive in the evening to throw stones. The investigation found that the motive was hatred of Jews.”
He noted that the police don’t have the ability to prevent similar incidents in the future. “Some of them worked in other places,” revealed Elmaleh. “We can not guarantee non-recurrence of similar events in the future.”
Elmaleh said the police evidence strongly implicated the new suspects. “Most of them did not express remorse for the deed,” he said. “There is clear evidence linking them to the event, and the totality of the evidence will be presented in court and will reinforce the suspicion against the detainees.”
Last week, two-year-old Israeli girl Avigail Ben-Zion suffered a moderate head wound when her mother’s car was stoned as it entered the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood in Jerusalem. Ben-Zion’s mother and her two brothers were unharmed.