The Tel Aviv District Court on Monday remanded alleged Tel Aviv bus bomber
Muhammad Abed al-Jaffer Nasser Mafarja to police custody until the conclusion of
legal proceedings against him.
Mafarja was indicted on December 19 for
planting an explosive device on a Tel Aviv bus, which injured 24 on November 21
at the tail end of Operation Pillar of Defense.
The 18-year-old Taiba
resident was charged with aiding the enemy in a time of war, dozens of counts of
attempted murder, conspiracy to commit a crime, causing an explosion, aggravated
assault, illegally transporting weapons and providing assistance to an illegal
Originally from the West Bank, Mafarja was able to move
within the Green Line and acquire Israeli identification documents after a
A recently filed separate indictment in the West
Bank military courts alleged that Ahmad Salah Ahmad Musa, a 25-year-old resident
of Beit Likya, headed the terrorist cell to which Mafarja belonged and was the
mastermind of the attack.
Musa is charged with attempted murder,
conspiracy to commit murder, dealing in weapons and materials for war, creating
an explosive, membership in an illegal organization and incitement, among other
Mafarja was charged in Tel Aviv due to his Israeli citizenship,
whereas Musa and other cell members were charged in the West Bank because they
are Ramallah residents.
According to prosecutors, on the morning of the
bombing, Mafarja spent a few hours riding around on several different buses in
Tel Aviv while carrying the bomb, all while looking for a bus full of
Eventually, he got on Bus 142 from Ramat Gan to Tel
Just before he arrived at a bus stop at the Ramat Gan industrial
district, Mafarja activated the bomb and then left it on the third seat on the
right side and got off the bus.
He called Musa immediately afterward and
told him that the bomb was in place.
Minutes later, the bus arrived near
the corner of Shaul Hamelech Boulevard and Henrietta Szold Street, where the
bomb was detonated.
The medium-sized bomb was packed with over 800 screws
and used fireworks components as its explosive component.
said that after Mafarja got off the bus, he took a train from the Savidor
Central Train Station back to Modi’in, where he returned his job at the
McDonald’s eatery in the Azrieli Mall.
The Shin Bet (Israel Security
Agency) and police said that several hours after the bombing, they managed to
arrest the members of the Beit Likya cell, including Musa.
Morad-Fingelay, head of the special investigations branch of the Yarkon Police
subdistrict, said at the time of Mafarja’s indictment that police had identified
him as the bomber within an hour or so of the attack, and that by 4:30 p.m. that
day, police and Shin Bet officers had arrested him at his place of
Shortly thereafter, he led police to the other members of the cell,
including Musa, she said.
Morad-Fingelay added that hundreds of police
officers, Border Police, Shin Bet and IDF personnel took part in the short-lived
Though she would not get into the specifics of how police homed
in on him, Morad-Fingelay said it was not prior intelligence that led them to
Mafarja, who was seen by a number of people fleeing the scene of the bombing and
was caught on CCTV video at the site as well.
She added that during a
Shin Bet interrogation following his arrest, Mafarja confessed to the crime and
reenacted it for the investigators.
Ben Hartman contributed to this