Three indicted for attempting to bomb Tel Aviv supermarket

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.

July 28, 2013 12:17
2 minute read.
Tiv Taam market [file]

Tiv Taam market 370. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

The Tel Aviv District Attorney’s Office on Sunday filed an indictment in the district court against three men who were arrested earlier this month for repeatedly attempting to bomb a supermarket in Tel Aviv.

Two of the men 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.

They are being charged with a slew of criminal offenses, including conspiracy to commit a felony, attempt to cause damage with an explosive device and manufacturing a weapon.

The charge of attempting to cause damage with an explosive device can alone carry a sentence of 15 years in prison.

During January and February, the unnamed defendant had paid NIS 2,000 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 the third defendant and paid NIS 6,000 for the explosive components which 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 which 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 which turned up fingerprints belonging to one of the defendants.

The still unnamed defendant was arrested on July 1, while Vaknin and Jerbi were arrested in mid-July.

The discovery of the bomb in mid-March came only two weeks after the supermarket was partially torched after arsonists used the store’s ventilation system to filter gasoline and fumes into the store.

The supermarket caught fire around 3 a.m., lightly wounding one employee and causing serious damage to the store.

That incident followed at least one more suspicious arson attempt in months previous.

Ben Hartman contributed to this report.

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