A suspect was arrested late Saturday night in the ax attack in which a man was critically wounded in the West Bank settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim late Thursday night.
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The suspect was identified as Sa’adi Ali Abu Hamed, 21, of Azzariyeh, a village outside of Jerusalem.
According to the Shin Bet security service, Abu Hamed linked himself to the attack during his initial interrogation and has been taken in for additional questioning.
Police said the arrest was made possible by a relative of Abu Hamed’s, who called the police’s 100 hotline and tipped them off to Abu Hamed’s involvement in the attack.
At about 1 A.M. on Friday, Zvika Cohen, a 47-year-old security guard, was found lying unconscious on the floor of a mall in Ma’aleh Adumim with numerous ax wounds to his upper torso. Officials from Jerusalem’s Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem said his condition remains critical and his life is still in danger. He is being treated in the neurosurgical intensive care unit, where he is sedated and on respiration.
Rahamim Cohen, the victim’s brother, said in an interview with Army Radio on Sunday that Zvika Cohen knew his assailant and had even “drunk coffee with him two days earlier.”
“In another two weeks, he was supposed to celebrate his son’s bar mitzvah,” Rahamim added. “Instead, we’re praying for his life.”
Nassar al-Asmar, a relative of Abu Hamed and a resident of Azzariyeh, said that most of Abu Hamed’s family, including his father, were arrested Saturday night. He added that Abu Hamed had worked at the Ma’aleh Adumim mall two days a week.
Eyewitnesses in and around Azzariyeh said a large force of police officers and soldiers raided the village Saturday night, and especially the Dir Ban neighborhood, where they detained three young men and violently searched homes. Entrances to the village had been closed off since Saturday evening. The force also entered the nearby Bedouin communities of Abu Nuar and Jabal al-Baba to search for the suspected assailant.
Shortly after the attack, a closure was imposed on Azzariyeh and a gag order was imposed on the investigation