Additional suspect arrested in Old City Sukkot attack

November 1, 2015  

Jerusalem District Police and Israel Security Agency officials have arrested a Palestinian Arab resident of Abu Dis on suspicion he planned the terror stabbing on Haggai Street in Jerusalem’s Old City over Sukkot. 

Rabbi Nehamiah Lavi, 41, and Aharon Bennett, 21, were both killed in the brutal attack, which occurred minutes after the end of Shabbat. 

Abed al-Aziz Meri is suspected of aiding Mohannad Shafik Halabi, 19, plan and carry out the attack – having spent the entire Saturday prior to the evening attack with Halabi. 

Halabi, a resident of Al-Bireh located adjacent to Ramallah in Samaria, was shot dead by security forces at the scene of the attack. 

Details of the investigation indicate that Meri had a long history of helping Palestinians cross the fence from Palestinian Authority-controlled town Abu Dis into Jerusalem. 

On the morning of the attack, he helped Halabi enter Israel illegally, initially with the goal of praying at the Al-Aqsa mosque atop the Temple Mount in 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. 

It was at this point, Meri told interrogators, that he persuaded Halabi to carry out the attack, telling him it would be payback for being refused entry for prayers at Al-Aqsa. 

Meri led Halabi to a store near the Damascus Gate where he purchased the knife for 50 shekels ($12.94). 

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