Two members of the family of Mohammed Abu-Khdair, the 16-year-old Arab youth who was burned to death in Yerushalayim two years ago, are to be charged with terror offenses, security officials said Monday. On Sunday, officials said that the two had been arrested in June for throwing stones on the light rail in Yerushalayim, but sources told Yediot Aharonot Monday that the two were now to be charged, along with several other detainees, for orchestrating a large terror attack on the light rail.
The attack was to be in revenge for the death of Mohammed Hussein Abu-Khdair in 2014. Last November, two Israelis were convicted of his murder, after they were charged with kidnapping and murder in a case that shocked the country. Many viewed it as an expression of anger over the murder of three Israeli teens whose kidnapping and murder was a catalyst for Operation Protective Edge in 2014.
The two, Nasser (18) and Muhammad (20) Abu-Khdair, are cousins of the murder victim, residents of the village of Shuafat. Police got wind of the plot last month, when security sources and informants told them that members of the family were planning a “high-quality” attack on the light rail. An investigation led police to the two detainees, Yediot said.
The two had no previous record. Under questioning, they said that they had had no interest in terror activities – until their cousin was killed, and now they were very interested in attacking Israelis, the report said. They chose the light rail because, they told interrogators, it is “the symbol of Israeli sovereignty in Arab Jerusalem.”
The kidnapping and murder of Mohammed Abu-Khdair occurred early on the morning of July 2, 2014, a day after the burial of the three Israeli teens who had been kidnapped weeks before by Hamas terrorists – Naftali Frenkel (16), Gilad Sha’ar (16) and Eyal Yifrach (19), Hy”d. The murders raised the ire of Israelis of all backgrounds, and, along with the incessant firing of rockets on Israeli communities in the Gaza ragion, was a contributing factor in the Israeli decision to fight Hamas again in Operation Protective Edge, which began on July 8.
Abu-Khdair’s body was found bound and burned in a Yerushalayim area forest. By July 6, police had in custody three suspects, all of whom confessed to the crime after several sessions of questioning.