Tel Aviv police have arrested a career soldier suspected of supplying material
to the main suspects accused of carrying out the attempted bombing of a city
supermarket in mid- March.
The soldier, who is in his 20s, was arrested
on Tuesday along with another suspect in a joint operation carried out by the
YAMAR investigative unit of the Israel Police and the special investigations
branch of the Military Police.
The soldier will be brought on Wednesday
morning to the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court, where police will seek an extension
of his remand.
In late July, the Tel Aviv District Attorney’s Office
filed an indictment against three men arrested earlier in the month for carrying
out repeated attempts to bomb the supermarket.
Two of the suspects have
been identified as Eliran Vaknin, 27, and Effi Jerbi, 28. The identity of the
third man indicted has been placed under a court-mandated gag order, which the
state is contesting.
The defendants are being charged with a slew of
criminal offenses, including conspiracy to commit a felony, attempting to cause
damage with an explosive device and manufacturing a weapon.
The charge of
attempting to cause damage with an explosive device alone can carry a sentence
of 15 years in prison.
Disaster was narrowly averted when an employee at
the Tiv Ta’am branch doing renovation work discovered a suspicious package in
the supermarket’s storage room. Police sappers came to the scene and cordoned
off a wide span of central Tel Aviv stretching for several blocks in each
Police managed to neutralize the bomb without detonating it,
and took it in for a forensic exam, which turned up fingerprints belonging to
one of the defendants.
The discovery of the bomb came only two weeks
after the supermarket was partially torched when arsonists used its ventilation
system to filter gasoline and fumes inside. One employee was lightly wounded,
and the store suffered serious damage.
That incident followed at least
one more case of suspected arson. Police have stated that they believe the
attacks were based on a business dispute involving the branch owner and
In May, police in the Lachish subdistrict arrested
two IDF soldiers accused of running a bomb-making operation out of a Sderot
apartment building. The two, aged 20 and 21, allegedly supplied explosives to
criminals in the South. They were arrested after they sold four bombs to an
undercover officer, police said.
The soldiers made the bombs partly with
materials they stole from IDF weapons depots, police said.