East Jerusalem Cell Charged Over Killing of Two Border Policemen

Three indicted over attacks; handguns found at cell leader's home in city's Anata neighborhood.

Three East Jerusalem residents have been charged with orchestrating two recent terror attacks in the capital in which two Border Policemen were killed, it emerged on Wednesday.

A gag order on the case was lifted Wednesday, allowing publication of the suspects' arrest and indictment. Prosecutors filed the indictment ten days ago at Jerusalem District Court.

According to the indictment, the cell was responsible for the murder of Border Policeman Rami Zuari in a January shooting attack at the Shuafat refugee camp in East Jerusalem. A Border Policewoman was also wounded in the attack.

The suspects were also accused of perpetrating the shooting attack in July at the Lion's Gate entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem, where Border Policeman David Shriki suffered wounds to which he later succumbed some two weeks later. In that attack too, another Border Policeman was hurt.

Following the attacks, the Shin Bet security service and Jerusalem police launched an investigation that led to the arrest of the cell's leader, Mohammed Khalil Adnan Abu-Sneina.

A search of the 21-year-old's home in the Anata neighborhood of Jerusalem revealed three handguns, knives and electric stunguns. The investigation also revealed that Abu-Sneina planned the attacks while touring the city on breaks from manning a market stall.

Sneina's father and member of Fatah, was arrested in 1981 and sentenced to life imprisonment after he murdered soldier Avraham Deutsch in 1978 and Yosef Moscovitch in 1979. He was released in 1985 as part of the Gibril Deal.

Members of the cell also planned to murder a Jerusalem district police officer and kidnap an Israeli security officer. In addition, they planned to shoot at a police patrol vehicle next to Almog Junction north of the Dead Sea, carry out a shooting attack on a bus at the French Hill junction and shoot at the Tel Romadia border control in Hebron.

Zion Shriki, the father of the Border Policeman killed in the Lion's Gate attack, said that the indictment represented a tying of loose ends. "I don't believe in this kind of consolation," he said. "It's true that they were caught, but it's not right that the killer is still alive. After 12 days during which my son fought for his life, all hope to bring him back to us was lost. He was a boy, anyone who knew him knows the extent of our loss."

News of the indictment came two days after the most recent in a spate of attacks by East Jerusalem residents, in which a Palestinian plowed his car into a crowd at a busy Jerusalem intersection, wounding more than a dozen people, mainly soldiers.