Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives behind recent bus bombing near Tel Aviv

Palestinian Islamic Jihad Tel Aviv Israel December 2013 January 2014.jpgIsraeli authorities yesterday announced the arrest of 14 individuals tied to the Dec. 22 bus bombing near Tel Aviv. Among the 14 are four Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives: Shahada Ta’amri, Hamdi Ta’amri, Sami Harimi, and Yousef Salameh.

According to an IDF statement, Harimi was responsible for physically placing the bomb on the bus and during interrogation admitted to planning to carry out another attack. Harimi had entered Israel illegally from the South Hebron Hills and was subsequently driven by an Israeli Bedouin to the Jaffa area, the statement said.

The bomb, which was remotely detonated, included two kilograms of explosives, nails, and metal pieces. Additional arrests are expected, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The Dec. 22 attack was the first such attack since November 2012, when Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives detonated a bomb on a bus in Tel Aviv. That attack injured over 20 people.

This past October, Israeli forces attempted to arrest Mohammed Asi, a Palestinian terrorist wanted in connection with the November 2012 bombing. Asi, who is claimed by both Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, was killed in clashes that ensued after he resisted arrest.

In recent weeks, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad officials have warned that a third Intifada is in the offing. For example, following the killing of Asi in October, Turkey-based Hamas operative Saleh Aruri called for attacks from the West Bank. Aruri, a founder of Hamas’ Izz al Din al Qassam Brigades in the West Bank, is currently believed to be in charge of coordinating Hamas’ efforts in the area, Haaretz reported on Dec. 21.

Yesterday, Ynet News reported that a secret Palestinian Authority document that it obtained “paints a worrying picture of a possible explosion in terror in the West Bank in the coming year.”

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