Palestinian Who Drove Terrorists to Jerusalem Attack Charged With Involuntary Manslaughter

Border Policewoman Hadar Cohen was killed during the Damascus Gate attack in February and a female colleague of hers was badly wounded.

Israeli border police body-search Palestinian men following an attack by three Palestinian assailants at Damascus Gate, a main entrance to Jerusalem's Old City on February 3, 2016.
AFP

A Palestinian driver who transported three terrorists to the scene of an attack in which a Border Police officer was killed has been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Hadar Cohen,19, from Or Yehuda, a trainee with the Border Police, was killed when the three Palestinians fired on a patrol at the Jerusalem Old City's Damascus Gate on February 3.

The indictment against the driver, Hamis Salaymeh, 57, of Wadi Joz, was submitted to the Jerusalem District Court on Friday morning. In addition to involuntary manslaughter, Salaymeh was charged with causing injury by negligence and employing illegal workers.

The prosecutor told the court that Salaymeh should have suspected that his passengers could be terrorists.

The charge against Salaymeh is regarded as unusual. In the past, such incidents have resulted in charges of transporting illegal residents. The indictment stated that the terrorists were well-dressed and scented, behavior that is not typical of laborers entering Israel to work, it said.

According to the indictment Salaymeh was asked to transport three residents of Jenin, in the northern West Bank, to Issawiya in Jerusalem via the A-Ram crossing point in the security barrier. The three, who did not have Israeli work permits, agreed to pay him 150 shekels.

He waited for them near the barrier in Beit Hanina. The three, each of whom was carrying a bulging bag, climbed over the barrier using a rope and met Salaymeh at the appointed spot. He then drove them to Jerusalem's Issawiya neighborhood and left them there.

After leaving the car, the three made their way to the Damascus Gate, according to the indictment. There, two of them sat on a bench, while the third hid out of sight nearby. The two on the bench aroused the suspicion of the members of the Border Police unit, who went over to them and asked them to identify themselves.

At that point, one of the two pulled out a Carl Gustav rifle from under his coat. One of the policemen managed to deflect the rifle and shot the Palestinian. At the same time, the second terrorist pulled out a knife and managed to stab one of the policewomen repeatedly until he too was shot.

The third terrorist then stepped out of his hiding place holding another rifle and shot Cohen, who was standing behind her comrades. The incident ended with Cohen and the three terrorists dead and the second policewoman in a serious condition with stab wounds.

The prosecution claimed that Salaymeh's negligence had led to the death of Cohen and the wounding of her fellow policewoman.

"The accused was negligent because he should have suspected that the residents of the territories who he transported might be terrorists planning an attack in which civilians could be killed," the prosecutor said.

"Nevertheless, he drove them into Jerusalem and dropped them off in one of its neighborhoods."

 The indictment also accused Salaymeh of driving illegal residents from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv in March, following the Damascus Gate attack.