Israel charges terrorist who shot at Jerusalem bus last month
Israel filed charges against a Palestinian man on Thursday for shooting at a bus near the Western Wall in Jerusalem in August, which injured eight people.
State prosecutors submitted the indictment against 26-year-old Amir Sidawi accusing him of committing an act of terror, attempted murder, causing injury under grave circumstances, breaking a legal ruling, possessing and carrying a weapon and the illegal possession of a knife.
Sidawi, a resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, had been under house arrest after serving five years in prison for a stabbing attack. According to the charges, he had purchased a pistol and two magazines last May.
Then in August, he broke his house arrest and went to the Old City carrying both the gun and knife with the intent of perpetrating an attack. He first went to a restaurant, but retreated after spotting policemen nearby.
He continued to the parking lot by the Tomb of David, where he noticed people waiting at a bus stop. At this point, according to the indictment, he opened fire, hitting the driver and his pregnant wife, among others. Sidawi then fled the scene, heading to Silwan. He ultimately took a taxi to the Moriah police station where he turned himself in.
A police source later said that Sidawi has no security-related background or affiliation with any organization. In 2015, he was sentenced to eight years in prison for aggravated assault during a fight.
He was released in 2020 after a parole board approved his request for an early release. While in prison, Sidawi participated in several treatment programs, joining beginners’ and advanced groups dealing with anger management, as well as with changing patterns of behavior. During his imprisonment he was allowed to go on leaves, based on his good behavior.
The police objected to his early release due to the severity of the crimes he was convicted of, and following intelligence they obtained from prison intelligence officers.
The police also claimed that the clan feud in which he had been involved in had not been settled. The parole board rejected the police’s position, stating that “the intelligence presented was old and not serious, with a low degree of reliability.”