Israeli intelligence nabs terror cell behind July violence at Al-Aqsa

Published By ITCT News Desk On : September 25, 2018
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Jerusalem: The Israel Security Agency (ISA, or also known as Shin Bet) has confirmed that its intelligence agents, with the help of Israeli Police, have arrested the cell of Arab youths from eastern Jerusalem who were responsible for violent clashes on the Haram esh-Sharif or Al-Aqsa (known to Jews as Temple Mount) after prayers on Friday, July 27 earlier this year.

The terrorist cell purchased fireworks that were smuggled inside the mosque in order to attack Israeli security forces stationed outside the mosque after Friday prayers. Four Israeli officers were injured and the mosque was closed for several hours due to threat of violence.

Israeli investigation, led by Israel’s domestic intelligence agency the Shint Bet, found that the main character behind the aforesaid cell was a Hamas terrorist Abu Tzabih, a resident of Kfar Akav who holds an Israeli ID card, who was released several months prior after having been sentenced to some eight months in prison for activity on behalf of the Shabab al-Aqsa terrorist group. Tzabih is the son of Mutzbah Abu Tzabih, who carried out the murderous October 9, 2016 shooting attack in Jerusalem which took the lives of Levana Malichi and Israel Police Sgt. Yossi Kirma.

It was learned that it was Tzabih who led the violence at Al-Aqsa, arranged the financing for the purchase of the fireworks, ordered the recruitment of additional terrorists for the disturbances on the holy site and directed that the fireworks be shot at the Israeli security forces.

Rashid Rashk, a Hamas terrorist, was also active in the event and also holds an Israeli ID card. He has served a prison sentence from 2014-2016 for his involvement in a stabbing attack, according to the statement by the Shin Bet. “Rashid recruited terrorists and instructed them on how to act during the event. In the weeks following the incident, Rashid was active in engineering a similar violent event on the Temple Mount but without success due to counter-terrorism efforts by the security forces,” the statement said.

Along with Tzabih and Rashk, eight other residents of eastern Jerusalem were also arrested by Israeli forces, and are likely to be indicted in connection with the violent event at the holy site and other violent events in eastern Jerusalem.

“The ISA and the Israel Police will continue counter-terrorism operations against all terrorist elements active on the Temple Mount in order to maintain quiet and stability there and prevent any attempt to escalate the security situation,” said the Shin Bet.

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