Jerusalem Police Arrest Suspect Who 'Wanted to Hurt Arabs' at Al-Aqsa Mosque

24-year-old wanted to 'cause bloodshed' following TikTok videos of Palestinians attacking Jews in the city, police say. His lawyer denies the accusations, arguing he is mentally unstable and 'made up' what he told investigators

Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner
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Israeli police officers stand next to a burning barricade during clashes in Jerusalem yesterday.
Israeli police officers stand next to a burning barricade during clashes in Jerusalem yesterday.Credit: Ammar Awad / Reuters
Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner

An Israeli man who police say planned a stabbing attack targeting Palestinians near Al-Aqsa Mosque was arrested on Thursday.

He told investigators that he wanted to “hurt Arabs” following videos posted on TikTok over the past week showing Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem assaulting Jews.

24-year-old Moshe Oholiav’s arrest comes amid heightened tensions in Jerusalem in recent days, including violent clashes between Palestinians and police as well as attacks on Palestinians by far-right groups.

Police say that Oholiav, a resident of the Jerusalem settlement suburb Ma’aleh Adumim, attempted to enter the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem’s Old City on Thursday night. He claimed to be a Palestinian resident of the nearby town of Anata, until police officers realized that he was Jewish, at which point he began threatening and cursing them.

Three knives were later found in Oholiav’s car, police said.

The suspect told investigators that he’s “a fan of provocations” and wants “to disturb peace and cause bloodshed.” A police representative told the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Friday that he confessed to “enjoying terror attacks against Arabs.” Police reported that Oholiav said that he and his friends – who weren’t apprehended – were searching for potential victims but ultimately didn’t carry out the planned attack.

Oholiav’s attorney said he was mentally unstable and denied the police’s claims, arguing that the suspect “made that story up” only after officers seized his cell phone.

A judge said that she “can’t rule out that there is a significant gap between what Oholiav said during the investigation and what really transpired.” She did, however, extend Oholiav’s detention by three days, citing the potential risk he posed to the public, particularly as he was apprehended at the site of the planned attack.

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