Palestinian Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison for Stabbing, Paralyzing Jerusalem Policewoman

The assailant, Ayman Kurd, has also been confined to a wheelchair since being shot at the scene of the attack two years ago at the Herod's Gate to Jerusalem's Old City

Scene of the stabbing attack outside Jerusalem's Old City walls, 2016
Menachem Kahana/AFP

The Jerusalem District Court on Wednesday sentenced a Palestinian man to 35 years in prison for stabbing and paralyzing a policewoman two years ago at the Herod's Gate to Jerusalem's Old City.

Ayman Kurd, who was 20 at the time of the attack, had arrived to the scene armed with a knife after listening to quotations from the Quran on his cellphone. Kurd spotted policewoman Tzipi Ya’akobian, and another policeman, and stabbed them both.

He knifed the policeman in the neck from behind and then stabbed Ya’akobian a number of times in her head and neck, breaking his knife in the process. At that point, the policeman drew a weapon and shot at Kurd a number of times.

The stabbing attack severed Ya’akobian’s spine leaving her paralyzed. Kurd was left unable to walk due to injuries he suffered when he was shot by the policeman, and is confined to a wheelchair.

Wounded officer Ya'akobian with her family in court a year ago
Emil Salman

In sentencing Kurd to 35 years in prison, the three-judge district panel acknowledged that the sentence was long, but said “it was required in light of the serious and exceptional circumstances of [Kurd’s] acts and its serious results.”

The court also ordered Kurd to pay restitution to both police officers – 258,000 shekels ($72,300) to Ya’akobian and 70,000 shekels to the policeman, who was lightly wounded.

“In this case, as in other terrorist attacks, an offense was committed for ideological reasons, with the accused seeking to be a martyr,” the verdict said, adding that elements of the offense that made it particularly serious included the advance planning involved and the “cruelty and determination” that Kurd demonstrated.

“The accused followed the police officers, set upon them from behind and stabbed them repeatedly in the neck until the knife broke from the force of the attack,” the judges noted.