The Jerusalem District Attorney on Tuesday filed indictments in the Jerusalem District Court against Mansour Tzafdi, Muhammad Salaima, and Hamza Abu Nab, residents of eastern Jerusalem ages 20-19, for planning terrorist attacks against Israelis as well as planning the assassination of Otzma Yehudit Chairman MK Itamar Ben Gvir. Two additional eastern Jerusalem Arabs have reportedly been arrested but no indictment has been filed against them yet. According to police, its joint investigation with the Shin Bet has also raised suspicions of the accused planning to produce explosive devices and abduct soldiers.
Yedioth Aharonot reporter Yossi Yehoshua noted that all three would be assassins carried an Israeli blue ID card.
כל חברי חוליית חמאס שנעצרו בתכנון ההתנקשות בח״כ בן גביר ובניסיון להפעיל רחפן נפץ על הרכבת הקלה, הם בעלי תעודות זהות כחולות. pic.twitter.com/h45ZP0ImTv
— יוסי יהושוע – Yossi Yehoshua (@YehoshuaYosi) May 24, 2022
The indictment states that the accused planned to establish two military squads to carry out attacks against various targets. One of the squads, led by Tzafdi, planned to kidnap soldiers to carry out prisoner exchange deals. They also planned to carry out shooting attacks against Israeli security forces and civilians.
According to the indictment, Tzafdi and Salaima also planned to connect a pipe charger to the glider and blow it up either over the light rail in Jerusalem or over Jewish homes in the eastern Jerusalem mixed neighborhood of A-Tur.
The indictment says the accused discussed hiding places after the murder of Ben Gvir.
According to the Shin Bet and the police, the cell was exposed last month. It was inspired by Rashid Rakshak, a prominent Hamas operative in the Old City who was behind several terrorist attacks in Jerusalem. Rashak was reportedly behind the Islamist clashes with security forces during the last month of Ramadan.
MK Ben Gvir pinned the responsibility for the planned attempt on his life on the Israeli government. He issued a statement saying, “Words can kill. It is no secret that for the past few months Lapid and Bennett have been inciting against me. For example, Lapid called me a descendant of [Rabin murderer] Yigal Amir, and Bennett tries to delegitimize me. Haaretz devotes a column to an attack against me every morning. The leftists should know that words can kill!!”
Ben Gvir also thanked the security forces for thwarting his assassination.
Goes without saying.