(photo credit: SHMUEL BAR-AM)
Security forces led by the Shin Bet announced on Sunday that they had foiled a
bomb attack plotted by Hamas in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, timed for the
High Holy Days.
At the same time, the Jerusalem District Attorney’s
Office filed an indictment with the District Court against two individuals
involved in the plot: Ahmad Rishak, 23, from Shuafat, and Ismail Abu Mfalfal,
27, from Abu Dis.
Both were charged with conspiracy to aid an enemy
during war and attempted manufacturing of a weapon.
They and other
alleged Hamas members from Ramallah and Jerusalem were in advanced planning
stages in the terror plot and were led by Hamdi Romana, 22, of Ramallah, the
Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said. The intended target was the Mamilla open
mall in downtown Jerusalem during one of the upcoming High Holy Days and
At press time, the IDF Spokesman had not provided any
information about the timing of Romana’s indictment, but in similar cases,
Ramallah residents are usually indicted separately in the Judea and Samaria IDF
courts. Indicting those residents sometimes takes longer than it does for their
In the investigation process, which included the
IDF and the police, security forces uncovered an explosives lab in Romana’s home, including instruction manuals on how to construct bombs, the Shin
During questioning, Romana confessed to being in contact with
three other residents of the Ramallah area who provided him with bomb-making
equipment. They have since been arrested and have pleaded guilty, security
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It was around March when Romana recruited Rishak and Mfalfal
for the plot. Making use of their Israeli ID cards, he instructed them to
smuggle the bomb into Israel, the Shin Bet and the indictment
Rishak was recruited first, and on orders from Romana, Rishak
eventually engaged Mfalfal, the indictment said.
It alleged that Mfalfal
assisted with several aspects of the plot, including the providing of
approximately 40 iron balls for the device in order to increase the number of
Rishak and Mfalfal, who were employed as
maintenance workers at Mamilla, were planning to smuggle the bomb into the
shopping center and to hide it in a closet.
Following multiple meetings
in July, they were ordered to plant the bomb in a restaurant, store or trash can
and to cover it with wrapping paper, in order to make it look like a gift in
preparation for the upcoming Jewish holidays, when the mall would be packed with
One scenario included wrapping the device in a box of
chocolates and placing it in a garbage can, according to the
“During questioning, members of the terror cell mentioned
other initial plans to carry out additional attacks, including harming IDF
soldiers by booby-trapping homes in Ramallah, manufacturing and firing rockets
at Israeli communities near Ramallah and attempting to get hold of handguns to
fire on soldiers at the Hizma roadblock, northeast of Jerusalem,” the Shin Bet
More specifically, the indictment stated that while visiting the
YMCA in Jerusalem, Rishak asked Mfalfal to get him a gun that could be used to
The domestic intelligence agency said the investigation
uncovered high motivation among West Bank terror cells, led by Hamas, to carry
out attacks in Israel.
The investigation highlighted the significant
danger posed by attempts to exploit Israeli ID card holders, who enjoy freedom
of movement, in order to attack, the Shin Bet observed.
The West Bank
Hamas wing launched two recent terror attacks – the detonation near the
Jerusalem Convention Center in 2011 and the Tel Aviv bus bombing of 2012 –
similarly using Israeli ID card holders to plant the explosives.
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