TA bus bomb 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/NIR ELIAS)
The Military Advocate-General’s Office filed an indictment with the West Bank
Military Court of Judea on Wednesday against the alleged mastermind of the Tel
Aviv bus bombing that injured 24 people on November 21.
alleges that Ahmad Salah Ahmad Musa, a 25-year-old resident of Beit Likya,
headed the terrorist cell and was the mastermind of the attack, which occurred
on the last day of Operation Pillar of Defense.
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 crimes.
According to the indictment, Musa
recruited other Palestinians to assist him in carrying out terror attacks,
acquired weaponry for the attacks, assembled bombs and gathered intelligence
about the potential targets, even going so far as to lead his recruits on tours
of the sites. He is suspected of remotely detonating the Tel Aviv bomb and
police said he admitted to planning other attacks during his
According to the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), Musa
taught himself how to make the remote-detonated explosive by watching videos
The medium-sized bomb was packed with over 800 screws and used
fireworks components as its explosive ingredient.
Musa also attempted to
recruit would-be suicide bombers – including from among the student population
at Bir Zeit University in Ramallah, where Muhammad Abed al-Jaffer Nasser
, who perpetrated the bus bombing, studied – but was unsuccessful, the
Shin Bet added. It also claimed that the alleged mastermind planned to kill
soldiers in a drive-by shooting in the West Bank.
Mafarja, an 18-year-old
resident of Taiba, was one of Musa’s recruits, the indictment alleged. Mafarja
was indicted in the Tel Aviv District Court on December 19 for the
Fuad Rabah Shukri Atzi, a 27- year-old Beit Likya resident, and
Muhammad Mahfud Said Damra, a 25-year-old resident of Kafr Mazra near Ramallah,
were also members of the terror cell, according to the indictment.
separate indictments – for dealing in weaponry and failing to prevent a felony –
have been filed against them in the Judea court.
Mafarja was indicted in
Tel Aviv because he is an Israeli citizen, whereas Musa and the others were
indicted in the West Bank courts as residents of Ramallah.
prosecutors in the Tel Aviv case against Mafarja, on the morning of the bombing,
he 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 passengers.
indictment claimed that, after eventually getting on Bus 142 from Ramat Gan to
Tel Aviv, Mafarja activated the bomb just before the bus arrived at a stop at
the Ramat Gan industrial district. He then left it on the third seat on the
right side and got off the bus.
The bomber called Musa immediately
afterward and told him that the explosive was in place. Minutes later, the bus
arrived near the corner of Shaul Hamelech Boulevard and Henrietta Szold Street,
where the bomb was detonated, noted the indictment.
Prosecutors 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 to his job at the McDonald’s eatery
in the Azrieli Mall.
The Shin Bet and police said that several hours
after the bombing, they managed to arrest the members of the Beit Likya cell,
Superintendent Rona Morad- Fingelay, the 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., police and Shin Bet officers had
arrested him at his place of work. Shortly thereafter, he led police to the
other members of the cell, including Musa, she said.
that hundreds of police officers, Border Police, Shin Bet and IDF personnel took
part in the short-lived manhunt.
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
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 report.