ISIS Sympathizer Tells Jerusalem Court He Doesn't Regret Murdering Three People

Wassim al-Said confessed to the murders of Yehuda and Tamar Kaduri in 2019 and Ivan Tirnovskil this year, as prosecutors serve an indictment against him

Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner
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Wassim al-Said at the Jerusalem District Court, on Monday.
Wassim al-Said at the Jerusalem District Court, on Monday.Credit: Emil Salman
Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner

A Palestinian man indicted Monday for the murder of three Jerusalem residents in ISIS-inspired attacks told the court he doesn't regret committing them.

Prosecutors filed the indictment against Wassim al-Said, a 34-year-old Hebron resident, with the Jerusalem District Court, accusing him of a 2019 double murder and another one this year, as well as a stabbing that left a 15-year-old Israeli lightly wounded, membership of the Islamic State and other offenses.

Said, who was released from administrative detention last month, carried out the latest attack five days later, murdering Ivan Tirnoski, a Moldovan national, in his Jerusalem apartment. The investigation led to a breakthrough in the murder case of Yehuda and Tamar Kaduri in 2019, linking Said to the crime.

A day earlier, the indictment says, he stabbed a 15-year-old girl.

His case underscores a failure on the part of Israel's security services: Said was in detention for two and a half years for being a member of a hostile organization. Throughout his time in detention, the police and Shin Bet Security services did not suspect he was connected to the Kaduri murders.

Yehuda and Tamar Kaduri.Credit: Mordechai Ashraf

The killing of Tirnovski, a 37-year-old working in construction, occurred on March 21 at around 1:30 A.M. Police believe that the killer entered an apartment in the Jerusalem neighborhood of North Talpiot where six Moldovans were living and stabbed two of them in the neck. Tirnovski succumbed to his wounds while the second victim was hospitalized with moderate injuries.

Ivan Tirnovski, the Moldovan man murdered in March in his apartment in Jerusalem.

Neighbors called Magen David Adom and the police, who arrested the other apartment residents, initially suspecting that the stabbings had occurred during a fight among them. They were released four days later when police concluded they had no connection with the stabbing, after which the Shin Bet began investigating the incident as a terrorist attack.

According to an eyewitness, the police returned with Said to the scene of the crime about two weeks ago under heavy security.

The Kaduri couple was found dead in their home in January 2019, but more than three years later the case remained unsolved. The police initially assumed there was political motivation, but after holding and then releasing a Palestinian construction worker who had worked in Kaduri’s building, they began to suspect criminal motives, perhaps connecting with Yehua Kaduri’s work as an accountant. Police arrested three men with criminal records, but they were all released.

The couple's family members harshly criticized the police's investigation: "You turned us into our parents' murderers. You spilled our blood," they said. A police commander apologized, and said that they had to turn over every stone, and that the process is sometimes painful.

In June 2020, the police released a video that was shot close to the scene of the murder in which a man suspected of involvement in the crime can be seen. In January 2021, another file was made public showing the image of another possible suspect, this time with a beard.

Because Tirnovski and the other stabbing victim were not Israeli citizens, police began to suspect they were part of a string of random attacks, and that the Kaduri murder was part of it. Together with the Shin Bet, an investigation into the possibility that the same person committed these murders began, reinforced by the fact that both murders occurred within two kilometers of each other and the method of killing was similar, as was the absence of an obvious motive. Both Armon Hantaziv and North Talpiot are close to the Palestinian neighborhoods of Jabel Mukabar and Tsur Baher.

Details of the two cases were barred from publication since an April 5 hearing until Wednesday at midnight. Authorities now treat the murder as an act of terrorism which precedes the current wave of terror attacks, having occurred shortly before the Be'er Sheva attack.

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