Israeli authorities release details on November bus bombing in Tel Aviv
On Wednesday, the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) released details on the Nov. 21 bus bombing in Tel Aviv that injured over 20 people. An indictment was also issued against one of the four members of the Ramallah-based cell responsible for the attack.
According to a statement released on the IDF website, the terror cell was made up of "Hamas and Islamic Jihad affiliated operatives," who were "planning additional attacks but the security force's rapid action during the immediate hours following the attack prevented their execution."
The statement also said that four members of the cell have confessed to their involvement:
• Ahmed Salah Ahmed Musa (b. 1987), a Hamas operative and resident of Beit Liqya. Musa, the cell leader, was previously imprisoned between 2005 and 2006 for planning attacks against Israel and was responsible for collecting intelligence, producing the explosive device, recruiting the individual who planted the device, and remotely activating the device.
• Muhammad Abed Al Jfar Nasser Mfarja (b. 1994)- Israeli citizen, resident of Beit Liqya since September 2012. Muhammad was recruited to Hamas by Ahmed Musa, and was able to plant the explosive device on the bus in Tel Aviv, using the access provided to him by his Israeli ID.
• Fuad Rabach Sucry Azai, (b. 1985) resident of Beit Liqya, is an "Islamic Jihad" operative who has been imprisoned a number of times for terrorist activity which included planning attacks and establishing a terrorist cell in which Musa was also a member. Azai also provided Ahmed Musa with a handgun and ammunition and attempted to provide him with an M-16 rifle.
• Muhammad Mahpod Said Damara (b. 1987)- a Hamas operative and resident of Mazari' An- Nubani (north of Ramallah). Prior to the execution of the terror attack, Musa informed Damara and requested his assistance in drafting recruits. During the investigation, Damara admitted to possessing a rifle that was to be used during the attack.
The statement further noted some of the discoveries made during the investigation:
On the morning of the attack, Mfarja received a bag containing the explosive device made by Musa. The explosive device was attached to a cellular detonator. Musa instructed Mfarja to plant the bag inside the Tel- Aviv bus, and stated that following the Hamas attack he would receive Hamas training for use of the M-16 and would meet other Hamas operatives.
Mfarja arrived in Tel- Aviv carrying the bag and searched for a densely- packed bus. At approximately 11:55 he planted the bag inside a "Dan" bus and informed Musa after he disembarked from the bus. Musa then detonated the explosive device.
Investigations also showed that the cell planned additional attacks against soldiers in various locations, which included drive- by shootings. Members of the squad had already begun intelligence collection for these attacks.
Suicide bombing and assassination attempts of seniors in the Israeli government and city mayors were also considered. Musa contacted Damara and requested his assistance in drafting university recruits from the Birzeit University for suicide attacks. He also asked Fuad Azai to be a suicide bomber.
The members of the cell planned to rent an apartment in Tel- Aviv following the terror attack in order to continue their planning but were arrested before they had fulfilled their plans.
According to Reuters, a trial date was not set; Mafarja's lawyer asked for additional time to study the charge sheet and claimed that "the defendant may not have intended to blow up the bus."
Indictments are expected to be issued soon for the other members of the cell said to be involved in the attack.