It has been released for publication that Israeli security forces have arrested four Arab residents of Tzur Baher in eastern Jerusalem on suspicion of the murder of Alexander Levlovich, the 64-year-old grandfather killed when Arab rock-throwers ambushed his car on the first night of Rosh Hashanah.
All four hold Israeli "resident" status. They have been named as:
- Mohammed Salah Mohammed Abu Khaf, 19
- Walid Fares Mustapha Atrash, 19
- Abed Mahmoud Abed Rabo Dawiat, 20
- A minor whose details are not permitted for publication
Under Shin Bet interrogation the suspects admitted to having gone out with the express intent of attacking Israelis, specifically on Rosh Hashanah. They described to investigators how they positioned themselves so as to be able to pelt oncoming Israeli traffic at a busy Jerusalem intersection after ascertaining whether the drivers were Jews.
Abed Dawiat – who threw the rock which fatally wounded Alexander Levlovich – further told investigators that he had gone out to commit the attack while wrapped in a Hamas flag, which he had acquired after attending an Islamist demonstration in the Israeli Arab village of Um el-Fahm shortly before the attack.
The rock thrown at Levlovich's car caused him to lose control and veer out of his lane, before slamming into a tree. The 64-year-old died of his injuries shortly after.
Immediately after carrying out that attack the four terrorists fled in separate directions, and later regrouped to coordinate their stories in the event they would be arrested.
Their interrogation is still ongoing, and Jerusalem prosecutors are currently preparing indictments against them.
In a statement, the Shin Bet security service noted: "This severe attack, with such difficult results, reflects the high level of threat from acts of 'popular terrorism', with an emphasis on rock-throwing attacks in Jeruselam, and illustrates the need for stricter penalties against rock-throwers, including thorough treatment of minors involved in such attacks."
Israeli government officials have already acted to clamp down on the phenomenon in light of Arab violence in and around Jerusalem over the last two weeks, by upping the minimum sentence for rock-throwers, as well as drafting a bill to punish the parents of minors convicted in such attacks.
Police have also been given additional powers to use low-caliber sniper fire to neutralize rock-throwers and firebombers who pose a particularly severe risk to the public.