Announcement comes 24hrs after two bombs placed at bus stops in Jerusalem killed a teenager and wounded dozens more.
https://www.jpost.com/-By ANNA AHRONHEIM
Photo of explosive material handed over during the investigation of the Gaza resident suspect, November 24, 2022.(photo credit: SHIN BET)
The Shin Bet security agency cleared for release that it had thwarted a bus bombing by a Gazan with a permit to work in Israel.
The agency arrested 31-year-old Fathi Ziad Zakot, a resident of Rafiah in the southern Gaza Strip, who the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group had recruited to plant a bomb on a bus in the south of the country.
The bomb and other materials were seized by security forces.
According to the agency, Zakot underwent explosive training by terrorists in the Hamas-ruled enclave and had begun collecting explosive materials to assemble the bomb while he was in Israel.
The Shin Bet said that the investigation revealed that the attempted attack was directed by Jihad Na’am,a senior PIJ official in Rafiah. The investigation also found that it was two of his relatives, both PIJ activists, that had recruited him to carry out the attack.
The indictment said that while he initially refused to carry out the attack, “after a persuasive conversation, he relented.” He initially thought to carry out the attack in an event hall or shopping mall and then later decided to place the bomb on a bus that he used to take while in Israel.
The indictment also said that during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge, after an attack on a weapons warehouse that had been in the home of a PIJ operative, Zakat stored RPG bombs in his brother’s home and made sure to return them to the organization’s operatives when there was a lull in the fighting. He also assisted the group in moving concrete slabs from a PIJ position to the opening of a terror tunnel used by the group in 2016.
Hamas to be held responsible
A source in the Shin Bet said that Israel holds Hamas as responsible for the thwarted attack.
“Israel will not allow attempts to exploit the civilian intermediary by terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip to promote terrorist attacks and will deal with these attempts severely,” the source said, adding that the Shin Bet in cooperation with the IDF and Police to locate and thwart any and all terror activity aimed against Israeli citizens.
Following the attempted attack and on the recommendation of the Shin Bet and IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the entry permits for some 200 residents of the Gaza Strip who are related to terrorists will be denied until further notice.
In addition, security forces will consider additional measures in order to ensure that future attempts to use civil measures such as work permits to carry out terror attacks be stopped.
“The investigation illustrates once again that terrorists in the Gaza Strip are investing a lot of effort in establishing terror infrastructures to undermine regional stability, including taking advantage of work permits issued by the State of Israel for the purpose of promoting military activity,” the Shin Bet said in a statement.
“The investigation illustrates once again that terrorists in the Gaza Strip are investing a lot of effort in establishing terror infrastructures to undermine regional stability, including taking advantage of work permits issued by the State of Israel for the purpose of promoting military activity.”
In June Israel increased the number of labor permits for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by an additional 2,000 for a total of 14,000. Defense Minister Benny Gantz had earlier announced that Israel would allow a total of 20,000 Gazan workers into Israel in an attempt to ease some restrictions on Gaza’s civilian population in exchange for quiet in the South.
On Thursday, Gantz said that the attempt by terror groups to take advantage of the work permits “endangers the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of residents in the Gaza Strip.”
“We are conducting an ongoing assessment of the situation, and if it appears that there is a trend of recruiting workers from Gaza to carry out attacks, Israel will consider its steps in the context of the workers from the Gaza Strip and other civilian measures,” he warned.
A serious indictment was filed against Zakot Thursday morning with charges including offenses against state security, weapons offenses, active membership in a terror organization, training for terror purposes, preparation to commit an act of terrorism and more.
The announcement of the thwarted bus bombing comes on the heels of the deadly bombing attacks in Jerusalem that killed 16-year-old Aryeh Schupak who was on his way to Yeshiva. A 40-year-old man who was sitting next to Schupak remains in critical condition with severe head injuries.
The bombings, which rocked the capital, were placed in two bus stops-on at the entrance to the city and one in the northern neighborhood of Ramot.
The police believe that the two attacks were coordinated as they took place 30 minutes apart and the explosive devices were of high quality.
Despite security footage and additional intelligence, security services have still not identified the suspects behind the attacks.