Photo Credit: Sliman Khader / Flash 90
Masked Muslims on the Temple Mount (archive)

The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) has cleared for publication the news that its intelligence agents together with Israel Police officers, have uncovered the cell of Arab youths from eastern Jerusalem who were responsible for the violent clashes on the Temple Mount after prayers on Friday, July 27 this past summer.

The cell purchased fireworks that were smuggled onto the Temple Mount in order to attack the security forces stationed outside the site at the conclusion of Friday prayers.

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Four officers were injured and the Temple Mount was closed for several hours due to the violent events.

The Shin Bet and Israel Police investigation found that behind the aforesaid cell was Hamas terrorist Abu Tzabih, a resident of Kfar Akav who holds an Israeli ID card, who was released several months prior after having been sentenced to some eight months in prison for activity on behalf of the Shabab al-Aqsa terrorist group. Tzabih is the son of Mutzbah Abu Tzabih, who carried out the murderous October 9, 2016 shooting attack in Jerusalem which took the lives of Levana Malichi and Israel Police Sgt. Yossi Kirma.

It was learned that it was Tzabih who led the Temple Mount violence, arranged the financing for the purchase of the fireworks, ordered the recruitment of additional terrorists for the disturbances on the Temple Mount and directed that the fireworks be shot at the Israeli forces.

Rashid Rashk, a Hamas terrorist, was also active in the event. He holds an Israeli ID card, and served a prison sentence (2014-2016) for involvement in a stabbing attack, according to the statement by the Shin Bet. “Rashid recruited terrorists and instructed them on how to act during the event. In the weeks following the incident, Rashk was active in engineering a similar violent event on the Temple Mount but without success due to counter-terrorism efforts by the security forces,” the statement said.

Along with Tzabih and Rashk, eight other residents of eastern Jerusalem were also arrested, and are likely to be indicted in connection with the violent event on the Temple Mount and other violent events in eastern Jerusalem.

“The ISA and the Israel Police will continue counter-terrorism operations against all terrorist elements active on the Temple Mount in order to maintain quiet and stability there and prevent any attempt to escalate the security situation,” said the Shin Bet.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.