Terrorist Who Assisted in Old City Murders Sentenced to 35 Years

YERUSHALAYIM -

A Yerushalayim court on Wednesday sentenced Abd Aziz Al-Meri, a 22-year-old Abu Dis resident, to 35 years in prison for his role in the murder of Aharon Banita-Bennett and Rabbi Nechemia Lavie, Hy”d, in Yerushalayim in October 2015. Meri was charged with assisting the terrorist, Mohand Halabi, who stabbed the two, providing Halabi with the knife he used to commit the murders.

The murders took place on October 3, 2015, when a knife-wielding Arab attacked Aharon Bennett, his wife, their two-year-old son and infant, as they were on their way to pray at the Kosel. Rabbi Lavie, an Old City resident and IDF reserve officer, went down with his gun to try and save those wounded by the Arab terrorist in the attack, but the terrorist stabbed him and seized his weapon. Lavie and Bennett, who were stabbed in the upper body and were unconscious when paramedics arrived at the scene, died in the hospital shortly afterwards. Rabbi Lavie, a father of seven, was a teacher at Yeshivas Ateret Kohanim in the Old City.

Earlier Wednesday, IDF troops and Israel police entered a home in the south Chevron Hills and seized several homemade weapons, as well as equipment stolen from the IDF, from a home in one of the villages in the area. Security officials followed up on intelligence information that led them to the equipment and weapons. Further investigation determined that the home was also a base for a car-theft ring. All the equipment was confiscated, and several arrests were made.

Overnight Tuesday, security officials said they arrested 12 wanted security suspects in other areas in Yehudah and Shomron. The suspects were wanted for participating in rioting and throwing stones and firebombs that endangered Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers. Several of the suspects were also charged with belonging to Hamas. All were being questioned on their activities by security forces.