Young Palestinian Charged for Tel Aviv Waterfront Attack

Omad Ahgbar, 18, wanted to 'kill Jews because they are Jews', indictment says, detailing his journey from West Bank to Tel Aviv hotel area, where he wounded four two weeks ago

Israeli police officers stand guard at the scene of a stabbing attack in Tel Aviv, Israel. Sunday, April 23, 2017. Israeli police say an 18-year-old Palestinian stabbed and lightly wounded four people in Tel Aviv before being arrested.
Israeli police officers stand guard at the scene of a stabbing attack in Tel Aviv, Israel. Sunday, April 23, 2017. Israeli police say an 18-year-old Palestinian stabbed and lightly wounded four people AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner

Omad Ahgbar, a 18-year-old Palestinian from Nablus, was charged with attempted murder and terrorism Monday for an April attack in Tel Aviv's boardwalk that wounded four.

According to the indictment, Ahgbar "decided to kill Jews because they are Jews, with the intent of either dying or being arrested… to turn into a martyr or hero."

According to suspicions, he decided in 2016 to attempt an attack in the Dead Sea area, where he believed he would find many Jewish Israelis, his charge sheet claimed. He purchased a knife and took a cab from Jericho in the West Bank, but returned after the cab driver told him the beaches were empty. According to the indictment, he then discarded the knife and returned to Nablus.

In March, he decided to come to Tel Aviv to attempt an attack. "The suspect planned out how he would enter Israel and come to Tel Aviv, and even turned to a [Palestinian] company that organizes tours in Israel… granting him one-day entry permits to Israel." He also sharpened his belt buckle, turning it into a makeshift knife which could be smuggled into Israel without being caught by security forces during a search.

On April 23 he entered Israel with the one-day permit as part of a tour group and during the tour bus' first stop, near Tel Aviv's Yarkon Park, he ditched the group and began searching for victims, the indictment alleges. Heading towards the beach, he crossed paths with a 70-year-old man and proceeded to stab him with his belt buckle, kicking and punching him as well.

The assailant then fled the scene and entered into the lobby of the nearby Leonardo Hotel, where he wounded another three people with a larger pair of garden shears he found inside. They suffered light wounds in the form of stabs and cuts.

"He entered into an antiques store in the hotel lobby and stabbed a woman in her neck with the intent to kill her," the indictment alleges. "He then attempted to stab her husband, who began to chase him."

During the chase, Ahgbar ran into a hotel worker who tried to stop him, but he blindsided the worker with the shears, causing him to bleed from his head. He was blocked from leaving the hotel by the woman's husband, who was also wounded, and then tried to break through the hotel's revolving door, shattering its glass, only to be apprehended by Israeli police officers waiting outside. 

Over 200 Palestinians did not receive Israeli entry permits in order to participate in an annual joint memorial ceremony with bereaved Israeli families due to the attack.