On October 4, 2017, the dead body of Reuven Shmerling HYD, 70, a resident of Elkana, Samaria, was found in a industrial zone of the Arab-Israeli city of Kfar Qasim, some 12 miles east of Tel Aviv. On Sunday the Shin Bet issued a release saying its joint operation with the Israel Police and the IDF has solved the murder.
During the holiday of Sukkot (October 5 to 17) the Shin Bet, the Yamam counter-terrorism unit and the IDF arrested Yosef Khaled Mustafa Kamil and Muhammad Ziyad Abu al-Roub, both in their 20s, residents of Qabatiya in Samaria,on suspicion of involvement in Shmerling’s murder.
The two suspects entered Israel illegally, with the assistance of a “coyote,” and worked in Israel for about two weeks. At some point, as they revealed to their Shin Bet interrogators, the two decided to carry out a stabbing attack and kill Jews – as revenge for the killing of their friend, Ahmed Abu al-Rob, who had been killed during an attempted stabbing attack at the Gilboa crossing. They also wanted to avenge what they perceived as the Israeli violations of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The investigation also revealed that one of the terrorists had planned, even before entering Israel, to carry out a stabbing attack against Jews wherever they may be, and in effect exploited his illegal entry into Israel to implement his plan.
The two men purchased a knife and planned their attack, including their escape route back to Judea and Samaria. In addition, during their interrogations, the suspects offered information regarding additional planned terrorist activities against Israeli targets in Judea and Samaria, by other Arabs from Qabatiya, whose interrogation continues.
An indictment for murder was filed against the two at the District Court in Lod by the District Attorney’s Office.