Israel convicts 14-year-old knife attacker of attempted murder

An Israeli court on Tuesday convicted a 14-year-old Palestinian knife attacker of two counts of attempted murder, seven months after he and his cousin seriously injured two Israelis in a Jerusalem settlement.

Closed-circuit footage of the mid-October knife attack showed Ahmed Manasra, then 13, and his cousin Hassan Manasra, then 15 - both with knife chaped objects in their hands - chase after a 21-year-old Israeli in a white shirt. The Israeli was seriously wounded.

The footage also shows a 13-year-old Israeli falling from his bike as he is stabbed and seriously injured by the Palestinian teens. 

Hassan was shot dead by border policemen, while Ahmed was overpowered and arrested.

Defence Attorney Leah Tsemel, a pro-Palestinian activist, claimed Hassan stabbed the two, while Ahmed had tried to stop his cousin.

She told reporters outside the Jerusalem District Court she would "probably" appeal.

The court in Tuesday's ruling rejected the defence's version as "highly unbelievable."

Prosecutor Yuval Kedar welcomed the ruling, saying that the knife attacker's young age did not reduce the severity of his act.

"The current wave of (knife) attacks has claimed many victims and is being carried out in many cases by minors," he said.

Observers said the prosecution may ask for eight to ten years, despite Manasra being a minor.

Manasra has been held in closed Israeli juvenile facility since October.

Neor Ben-Ezra, the 13-year-old Israeli who recovered from critical stab wounds to a major artery, also arrived in the Jerusalem court Tuesday with his family, demanding a "severe" sentence. 

Earlier Tuesday, two elderly Israeli women were injured earlier after being stabbed on a Jerusalem promenade, police said.

Five women in their 70s and 80s were taking a morning walk on the Armon Hanatizv promenade, which runs between West and East Jerusalem, when two hooded Palestinian youths with knives lunged at them from behind, spokeswoman Luba Samri said.

Two of the women were taken to hospital with stab wounds, among others to the back, Samri said. Police searched the area and arrested two suspects, but they were later released.

Palestinians have launched scores of knife attacks against Israelis since October, protesting the ongoing occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as perceived violations - denied by Israel - at a disputed Jerusalem holy site.

Some 29 Israelis and more than 200 Palestinians - many of them knife attackers - have been killed since the wave of violence began.

Many of the stabbers have been minors. Israel charges that radical Muslim leaders brainwash youths to "defend" Jerusalem's al-Aqsa Mosque by stabbing Jews.

Last update: Tue, 10/05/2016 - 19:27

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