Israeli security authorities announced Tuesday morning that they have arrested a Hamas operative who planned a number of terror attacks in the Jerusalem area, including a suicide bombing on a bus in the capital’s Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood.
Muhammad Fuaz Ibrahim Julani, of the Shuafat refugee camp on the outskirts of Jerusalem, was arrested last month while planning the attack at the behest of his Hamas handlers in the Gaza Strip, according to the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).
The investigation of Julani revealed that he had discussed a number of potential attacks with his handlers, including a shooting attack at the Hizme checkpoint, a bombing at a store in Jerusalem he had formerly worked at, and bombing attacks at high profile sites in Jerusalem that would cause mass casualties, such as the Central Bus Station and the Malha Mall.
Such high profile targets was ruled out amid heavy Israeli security presence and the Hamas terrorists settled on the Pisgat Ze’ev bus bombing, the Shin Bet said.
Julani was instructed to gather the materials necessary to construct the bomb for the attack, many of which he turned over to Israeli authorities after his arrest.
He began to construct the device, carrying out explosive experiments until he was eventually caught by his parents. However, even after this point, the Shin Bet said, he continued in his efforts to build a bomb, traveling to Hebron to purchase additional materials.
Julani and his handlers decided that the attack would be carried out after the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha in mid-September, in order not to disrupt Muslim worshipers from going to Temple Mount.
Julani was given some 7,000 shekels for the cost of the attack in Hebron and he filmed a “last will and testament” to be distributed after the attack.
He was arrested before he could carry out the attack, after which he turned in two of his family members who had helped him hide weapons from Israeli authorities during his arrest.
It was not the first time that Julani had planned to carry out a terror attack. He reportedly told his interrogators that he had planned a stabbing attack in Pisgat Ze’ev a year earlier, but had relented at the last minute for fear Israeli authorities would destroy his parents’ home.
The Shin Bet stated that the terror plot bears witness to Hamas’s unceasing efforts to initiate terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank by enlisting operatives who are residents of Israel like Julani.