Interior Minister Eli Yishai is pushing an initiative to revoke the citizenship of an Arab citizen of Israel, a resident of the city of Taibe in the Galilee, whom police suspect carried out a bombing attack on a Tel Aviv bus during Operation Pillar of Defense in the Gaza Strip, Channel 2 News reported on Sunday.
According to the report, Yishai asked Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to authorize the move. In the request, Yishai reportedly cites the fact that the alleged terrorist, whose identity is currently under gag order, was a West Bank Palestinian naturalized through a family reunification procedure some 15 years ago.
Twenty-seven people were injured in the November 21 bombing, which was the first of its kind in Tel Aviv since 2006.
The suspect and several alleged accomplices were arrested on the following day in a joint operation of the Shin Bet security service, the Israel Defense Forces, and police, after a large-scale manhunt. The key suspect was apprehended at a Modi’in railway station.
According to the Shin Bet, the man was recruited to carry out the bombing by a terrorist cell based in the West Bank village of Beit Likia, southwest of Ramallah. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the man was connected to the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist groups.
According to police, the suspect borrowed his employer’s car to transport the bomb into Tel Aviv, then placed it inside the bus. After he planted the bomb, the man got off the bus and called his handlers, who detonated the explosive device remotely, Rosenfeld said.
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal denied that his organization was behind the attack, although officials of the group in the Gaza Strip praised the bombing.