A Jerusalem Arab was indicted Thursday on charges of plotting a major terrorist attack in the capital city.
Muhammad Abbasi, 25, was charged as an accomplice to a planned terror attack in Jerusalem. He was indicted in Jerusalem District Court, according to the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), which said he was arrested three weeks ago. Abbasi is also accused of destroying evidence, obstructing justice, supporting a terrorist organization, causing grievous bodily harm, manufacture and possession of weapons, attempted assault of police and rioting.
Shin Bet domestic intelligence agents said they discovered during their investigation that Abbasi, a Hamas operative, intended to attack Israeli security forces and civilians in eastern Jerusalem, and that he purchased firearms for the purpose. He was allegedly involved in a number of firebombing attacks in addition to having lit and thrown fireworks and stones and security forces and Israeli motorists.
The investigation also allegedly revealed that Abbasi tried to find out how to manufacture pipe bombs, although he had not actively tried to make them himself.
According to the indictment documents, Abbasi was employed by a Jerusalem bakery during 2016. In July of this year, the bakery owner plotted together with Ramzi Alouk, a former prisoner associated with Hamas who lived in Gaza, to attack Jews in Jerusalem. Abbasi told the bakery owner that he wanted to participate in the terrorist activity, and asked to communicate with Alouk, saying he wanted to participate in military operations against Israel.
The owner of the bakery was arrested by Israeli security officials this past September, and his remand was extended. After Abbasi heard about the arrest he allegedly decided to act to prevent security officials from obtaining criminal evidence against the bakery owner. According to the indictment, Abbasi purchased a new hard disk and installed it in his computer, and then broke the original hard disk and threw it away in the garbage. The indictment states this act constitutes “conspiracy to perform terrorist activity inside Israel, with intent to prevent or to thwart a legal procedure.”
From July 2015 until his arrest, Abbasi posted on his Facebook page calls for acts of violence and terrorism against Israeli civilians and security forces. He also posted words of praise, encouragement, and empathy for such acts, and for terrorists. In addition, Abbasi praised and demonstrated support for the Hamas terrorist organization and its military wing, the Izz a-Din al-Qassam Brigades force.
On the day a suicide bomber attacked the Number 12 bus in Jerusalem, wounding a number of Israeli civilians, Abbasi uploaded a photo of the burned hulk of the bus, with the caption, “We bless the brave attacker… You have gladdened our hearts … Allah be blessed.”
On the day of the lethal shooting attack in the Sarona Market in Tel Aviv, in which numerous Israeli civilians were killed and wounded, Abbasi wrote in his post: “3 bodies and 5 injured in Tel Aviv shooting attack … Allah bless those hands … Allah give them life … They broke their fast on something worthwhile … Palestine is proud of these men.”
During Operation Protective Edge in 2014, Israel’s war with Hamas, Abbasi participated with masked men in disturbances in the [Jerusalem] Ras El Amud (also known as Ma’alei Zeitim) neighborhood, hurling stones and fireworks at police forces at the scene. During the same period he manufactured firebombs (Molotov cocktails) and threw them at military and police vehicles.
According to the Shin Bet, “The arrest of Abbasi, who as a Jerusalem resident has had access to the entire city, prevented a serious terror attack from taking place in Jerusalem.
“His arrest and the findings of the investigation demonstrate once again the severity of the threat from lone attackers who are influenced by the incitement of terrorist organizations on the internet – in particular, by Hamas – and they themselves incite others to then perform attacks.”
Hana Levi Julian