Terrorist Indicted for Killing 3 on Jerusalem Bus

Court charges E. J'lm Hamas supporter in shooting deaths last month; charges also lodged against Palestinian who injured woman outside Jaffa Gate.

The aftermath of the deadly attack on the No. 78 bus in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem, on October 12 , 2015.
Olivier Fitoussi

One of the two suspected perpetrators of a terror attack that killed three Israelis on a Jerusalem bus last month was indicted in the Jerusalem District Court on Monday.

Bilal Abu Ghanem, 21, of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal Mukkaber, was charged with three counts of premeditated murder and seven counts of attempted murder. The other suspect was killed during the attack.

According to the charge sheet, Abu Ghanem has been a member and supporter of Hamas for several years. On October 12, he was approached by Bahaa Alian, who said he had obtained money to buy a gun that could be used to carry out a terror attack. Abu Ghanem said he wanted to participate in the attack.

That night, Alian went to Abu Dis, a village just outside Jerusalem, and bought the weapon; the two men also had a knife. They went to the neighborhood of Armon Hanatziv the following day, where they boarded the No. 78 bus.

The two assailants were the first to board the bus, the indictment said. They waited quietly for a few minutes, until about 12 Jewish passengers had boarded, whereupon they launched their assault.

Abu Ghanem used the gun while Alian used the knife, the indictment said. Between them, they killed three people – Alon Govberg, Richard Lakin and Haviv Haim – and wounded three others.

Eventually, Abu Ghanem ran out of ammunition, and Alian’s knife broke off in Lakin’s body. At that point, according to the charge sheet, Alian tried to strangle one of the passengers.

Policemen summoned to the scene shot both assailants, killing Alian and wounding Abu Ghanem.

The prosecution has asked that Abu Ghanem be held in custody until the end of the trial.

A separate indictment was filed on Monday against another resident of Jabal Mukkaber, Omar al-Faruk Abidaya, 22. He was charged with attacking and wounding a Jewish woman with a glass bottle near the Old City of Jerusalem’s Jaffa Gate a week ago. His victim was a 45-year-old tour guide.