Palestinian Dentist Charged in Memorial Day Terrorist Attack in West Bank

Dr. Samer Mahmoud Daoud al-Halabia is accused of detonating an explosive charge with a cellphone, seriously wounding an IDF officer.

Scene of bomb attack near East Jerusalem's Hizme checkpoint in West Bank. May 10, 2016
Emil Salman

The Shin Bet security service arrested a dentist from the West Bank town of Abu Dis for allegedly detonating an explosive device on the eve of Memorial Day in May near the Hizme crossing from the West Bank into Jerusalem. An IDF officer, 2nd Lt. Shahar Roditi, was seriously wounded in the attack.

The Shin Bet alleges that the dentist, Samer Mahmoud Daoud al-Halabia, also planned to commit another terrorist attack in the vicinity of the settlement of Ma'aleh Adumim, just east of Jerusalem, using an explosives charge.

Halabia was indicted ten days ago in military court in the Hizme case. Along with him, his father, who is a hospital nurse, and his brother, who is also a dentist, were also arrested as well as another dentist.

The Shin Bet alleged that the primary suspect, Samer al-Halabia, began planning the terrorist attacks at the beginning of February, motivated by the belief that the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem was being desecrated by Israel and by the "harm inflicted by Israel on Palestinian children." The Shin Bet said its investigation has revealed that the suspect also made other explosive devices, prepared a device for detonation by cellular phone for use in future terrorist attacks and put the explosives in his dental clinic in Kafr Aqab.

His father was arrested on suspicion of concealing with evidence from his son's clinic. The primary suspect's brother as well as another relative allegedly removed the explosives from the clinic.

In the Memorial Day eve attack, the main suspect is alleged to have put the explosives in a bag and laid it at the side of a road. An IDF force in a jeep that was passing through the area spotted the bag, closed the road and called for reinforcements. The suspect is then alleged to have detonated the explosives from a distance by phone, causing the serious injuries to Roditi.

Under military regulations, the dentist is charged with attempting to intentionally cause death, the equivalent of attempted murder under civilian law. He has been ordered held until the end of legal proceedings against him