Family of stabbing attack suspect: He has mental illness
A brother of Ahmad Muhammad Mahamid, who tried to stab a policeman in the Old City of Jerusalem on Friday and was shot to death, says his brother is not a terrorist but a mentally ill individual; 'My brother is a mentally ill person who never thought of harming people, the police did not have to shoot him dead.'
The family of Ahmad Muhammad Mahamid, from Umm al-Fahm, who was shot dead after attempting to stab a policeman in the Old City of Jerusalem on Friday, claimed that he is not a terrorist but a sick individual with serious mental health issues.
"He suffers from a mental illness and he tried several times to commit suicide. We did not know he was in the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday, he never usually goes there,” said Ahmad’s brother Naseem, in an interview with Ynet.
"My brother is a mentally ill person who never thought of harming people … We thought at first that he was misidentified. My brother is not a terrorist. Everyone needs to understand his mental state and not jump to conclusion that are so far from the truth," Naseem vented.
The family also believes the police could have neutralized Ahmad without having to shoot him dead.
"The police did not have to shoot him dead, they could have shot him in the leg," the family asserted.
The police released footage of the attempted attack showing the policeman looking at his cell phone as the terrorist approaches him. The terrorist walked slowly, and when he recognized the policeman, he took the knife out of his pocket and tried to stab the officer. He did not succeed, and was soon shot and killed by the officers.
The suspect's uncle, Mustafa Mahamid, has also expressed his dismay at the actions of his nephew.
"He is not really a religious person and is not used to going to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, so it was a surprise to hear about the incident. Also, the footage of the incident shows that the attack could have been stopped without the shooting. There were dozens of policemen who could have caught him or harmed him without killing him. To pull a trigger is the easiest option,” bemoaned the uncle.
He also referenced an incident that occurred several months ago in the city of Hadera when a 40-year-old man drove into a police station threatening to run over and even kill the officers but was apprehended.
"We saw the incident in Hadera with the guy who threatened to run over the policemen. Even though he was dangerous, they did not harm him, and let him curse and threaten. However, when it’s an Arab then they pull the guns out straight away,” he opined.
According to the police, the perpetrator left the Council Gate located at the entrance to the Temple Mount at about 5:30pm. He then noticed a group of policemen stationed a few meters away, and tried to stab one of them with a knife he was holding. After a fight between the police and the suspect, he was shot and killed by police officers at the scene.
The police responded to the incident by blocking the alleys surrounding the crime scene and opening an investigation into the identity of the perpetrator.
Following the orders of Jerusalem district police commander Maj. Gen. Yoram Halevy, a search was conducted throughout the Temple Mount area, and police removed people from the scene.
Last week, police officers foiled another stabbing attack in Jerusalem's Old City. The officers arrested a 26-year-old Palestinian from Hebron who planned to stab Israeli civilians or security forces in the city.