The central suspect in last month’s bus bombing in Tel Aviv planted the explosive device and then took the train back to his job at the McDonald’s in Modi’in, prosecutors stated in an indictment issued on Wednesday.
Muhammed Abed Al Jaffer Nasser Mafarja, an 18-year-old resident of Taibeh, 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, illegal transporting weapons, and giving assistance to an illegal organization. Mafarja, who could potentially receive several life sentences, was originally from the West Bank but was able to move within the Green Line and acquire a blue Israeli ID after a family reunification.
Indictments were pending against three other suspects the Shin Bet said were part of a “military cell” from the Ramallah area, which they said also plotted to carry out suicide bombings and shooting attacks against Israeli politicians and IDF soldiers.
The suspects were named on Wednesday as: Ahmad Salah Ahmad Musa, a 25-year-old resident of Beit Lakiya; Muhammed Abed Al Jaffer Nasser Mafarja, an 18-year-old Israli-Arab; Fuad Rabah Shukri Atzi, 27, of Beit Lakiya, and; Muhammed Mahfud Said Damra, a 25-year-old resident of Kfar Mazra near Ramallah.
Twenty-six people were injured in the November 21 bus bombing in Tel Aviv, which took place a week after Operation Pillar of Defense began in Gaza.
According to the indictment, Musa served as the head of the cell and was in charge of acquiring intelligence on targets, making the bombs and recruiting others to place the bombs. He is suspected of remotely detonating the Tel Aviv bomb and police said he admitted to planning other attacks during his interrogation. The Shin Bet said that Musa tought himself how to make the remote-detonated bomb by watching videos online and though he was self-taught, the bomb Musa made was a medium-sized one packed with over 800 screws, that used fireworks components as its explosive ingredient.
The indictment states that the central suspect had also attempted to recruit would-be suicide bombers, including from among the student population at Bir Zeit University in Ramallah – where Mafarja also studied – but was unsuccessful. In addition, it alleged that he planned to carry out a drive-by shooting against IDF soldiers in the West Bank.
According to prosecutors, on the morning of the bombing Mafarja arrived in Tel Aviv and spent a few hours riding around on several different buses across the city while carrying the bomb, all while looking for a bus full of passengers. Eventually he got on bus 142 from Ramat Gan to Tel Aviv and just before he arrived at a bus stop at the Ramat Gan industrial district he activated the bomb and then left it on the third seat on the right side and got off the bus. He then called Musa immediately and told him the bomb was placed and minutes later the bus arrived near the corner of Shaul Hamelech and Henrietta Szold, where the bomb was detonated.
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 work at the McDonald’s at the Azrieli Mall.
The Jerusalem Post has the full article