The Tel Aviv District Attorney’s Office on Monday filed an indictment with the Tel Aviv District Court against Lior Menashe, 25, of Hadera, for facilitating an illegal weapons transaction in connection with the recent attempts to bomb a supermarket in Tel Aviv.
The indictment said that Menashe helped coordinate between an IDF soldier and an individual – known only as A. A. under a gag order – by buying and then selling for NIS 2,000 explosive materials and an electronic detonator that were used for the bombing attempt.
The soldier has not yet been indicted, but is under investigation by the IDF. On August 6, Tel Aviv Police announced the arrest of the career IDF soldier suspected of supplying the weapons to the main suspects in the case.
The soldier, who is in his twenties, was arrested along with another suspect in a joint operation carried out between the central investigative unit of the Tel Aviv Police and the special investigations branch of the Military Police.
On July 28, the three central defendants in the case were indicted for repeated bombing attempts against the Tiv Ta’am supermarket in Tel Aviv. Two of the men were identified as Eliran Vaknin, 27, and Effi Jerbi, 28. A.A. was the third man arrested.
The charge of attempting to cause damage with an explosive device can alone carry a sentence of 15 years in prison.The main 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.
During January and February, the unnamed defendant had paid NIS 2,000 to the soldier to acquire 133 grams of explosive material and electronic wiring, which he then kept hidden in his house, said the indictment.
The indictment alleged that in March, Vaknin and Jerbi contacted A.A. and paid NIS 6,000 for the explosive components that he had gathered as well as some other materials in order to use them to destroy the store.
The three met together on March 5 and prepared a deadly explosive device that could be remotely detonated, the indictment said. According to the indictment, on March 12, the defendants or someone working with them placed the device in the store.
Police said they have forensic evidence taken both from the scene and the homes of two of the suspects that implicates them in the crime. 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, cordoning off a wide span of central Tel Aviv stretching for several blocks in each direction. Police managed to neutralize the bomb without detonating it, and took it in for a forensic exam that turned up fingerprints belonging to one of the defendants.
Ben Hartman contributed to this report.