Indicted Halamish Attacker Chose 'Lit-up House With Sounds of Laughter’

Omar al-Abed is charged with the murder of three members of the Salomon family in their Halamish home last month

Friends mourn murdered members of the Solomon family in Halamish on July 23, 2017.
Gil Cohen-Magen

The military prosecutor filed an indictment on Thursday against Omar al-Abed, 20, from the village of Khobar, who allegedly killed Yosef, Chaya and Elad Salomon at the Halamish settlement last month.

Abed is charged with the murders of the three family members, and with the attempted murder of seven others – Yosef’s wife Tova, Elad’s wife Michal, and Elad and Michal’s five children. The indictment also cites Abed for conspiring with someone else to commit terror attacks in the months preceding the Halamish attack.

According to the indictment, on July 14 Abed decided to commit the murders after the attack on the Temple Mount in which two policemen were killed, and the sequence of events that followed.

“Initially, the defendant planned to obtain an explosives belt or gun, but he ultimately decided to commit a stabbing attack at Halamish, which was close to his place of residence.”

The indictment goes on to say that Abed corresponded on WhatsApp with a woman named Reem Kashta in Gaza, and told her of his intention to commit a stabbing attack.

He also sent Kashta his will and his Facebook information and asked her to post it on the Friday evening when he carried out the attack. She tried to talk him out of it, but he wouldn’t be swayed.

The indictment adds, “He corresponded with several other people, Gaza residents, telling them of his intention to carry out an attack and to die as a shahid.”

On that Friday, around four in the afternoon, Abed began preparing for the murders. He showered and shaved “to purify himself” before the assault. He took a backpack and put a knife, fence-cutters and a Koran inside.

“The defendant left his home and went to his sister’s house, where he drank water, took another bottle of water with him and then set off towards Halamish,” says the indictment. After he prayed near the settlement, his girlfriend posted the will.

The military prosecutor also says he threw a rock at a passing car before entering the settlement, apparently with the aim of stopping the car and stabbing the driver.

At this stage, the defendant began advancing towards Halamish and crossed the settlement’s fence through an opening he found beneath it.

He cut through another fence, climbed over a third fence and then over an electric fence. That brought him into the settlement’s cemetery and from there he went to the Salomon home, which he selected because it was “lit up and there were sounds of laughter coming from it.”

When he entered the house, Michal Salomon spotted him and got all the children to flee to the second floor, where she locked herself in a room with them. The defendant stabbed Chaya, Tova and Yosef. Then Elad leapt on Abed and tried to take the knife away from him. In the course of the struggle between them, Abed stabbed Elad three times.

The indictment says Abed then forcefully struck Elad in the head with a cutting board and kept on stabbing him and his father Yosef.

As he was in the midst of the attack, he was shot by a soldier on weekend leave who lived next door.

Abed is accused of intentionally causing death (in military court, the parallel offense to murder), of attempting to intentionally cause death, of conspiring to intentionally cause death, of being in possession of a knife, and of incitement and supporting a hostile organization – for comments he posted in the six months preceding the attack.