Israeli Arab with ties to Islamic State arrested for Jerusalem bus stop bombings
The Shin Bet security agency and Israel Police said on Tuesday that security forces arrested an Israeli Arab man affiliated with the Islamic State jihadist group over a deadly double bomb attack in Jerusalem last month.
In the November 23 attack, 26-year-old Eslam Froukh allegedly detonated two bombs at two bus stops near the entrances to the capital. The attacks killed two people, Aryeh Schupak, 16, and Tadese Tashume Ben Ma’ada, 50, and injured more than 20.
According to the Shin Bet, Froukh, an Israeli resident of Kafr ‘Aqab in East Jerusalem who lived much of the time in the Ramallah area, committed the attack because of his affiliation with Islamic State.
The agency said Froukh, a mechanical engineer by trade, acted alone and taught himself how to make the bombs used in the attack, using Internet guides.
The Shin Bet said Froukh had tried to detonate another bomb while security and medical forces were treating victims at the scene of the second attack, but ran into technical problems and did not plant it.
In the days after the attack, security forces near the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim found several items apparently used by the terrorist in the attack, including a motorized scooter, a helmet, spare clothing, used earlier, during and after the attack. attack, and five homemade bombs.
The Shin Bet said these items helped them identify the attacker, who was arrested several days later.
In another area of the West Bank, near Ramallah, security forces located the site where Froukh allegedly tested his explosive devices. The Shin Bet said the troops seized explosive materials, an improvised machine gun and a prepared bomb similar to those used in the attack on Jerusalem.
The agency said it suspected Froukh was planning to carry out another attack using the explosive device and weapon.
Several other suspects were arrested in the days after the bombing, but all were released.
Prosecutors are expected to file an indictment against Froukh in the coming days, which will include murder and other terrorism charges.
Outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid hailed Froukh’s arrest, saying Israel would reach out to “any terror or terrorist group.”
“I closely followed the complex investigation and was updated on its details. I congratulate the Shin Bet, the police, the IDF and all the security forces for the investigation that led to the capture of the terrorist,” he said in a statement.
“As promised, we got to him. Israel will catch up with any terrorist who harms its citizens and will treat them with the full severity of the law,” he added.
The attacks came amid heightened tensions following a series of Palestinian attacks that have killed 31 people in Israel and the West Bank since the beginning of the year.