A 22-year-old resident of a Palestinian village in East Jerusalem was charged Thursday with conspiracy to commit a crime for his role in a plan to attack the popular Malha Mall in the capital.
Abed Elmo’ati Abu Snina of Kafr Aqab was arrested close to the mall, where he had planned to make a reconnaissance film ahead of the intended attack, Channel 10 reported.
According to the charge sheet presented at Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, Abu Snina met co-conspirator Ihab Shikh Sobeh last July when both were serving terms at Ketziot Jail in the Negev Desert. The two agreed to make contact following Abu Snina’s release, to plan a terror attack.
After their release, Sobeh revealed that he was planning a shooting attack on security forces near the Malha Mall on a Thursday afternoon, when many soldiers travel for weekend furlough. He said he had weapons and ammunition, and that he intended to wear an IDF uniform to enable him to blend in with the soldiers and cause maximum casualties.
Sobeh asked Abu Snina to go to the mall on a Thursday afternoon to film bus stops, the road, and entrances to the mall.
Abu Snina agreed but was stopped by police before he managed to start filming.
Israel Radio said Thursday that the prosecutor asked that Abu Snina be detained until the end of proceedings.
Malls in Israel have been a focal point for terror attacks over the years.
In September 2013, two Palestinian cleaners, Ahmed Rishk and Ismail Abu Mefalfal, were arrested at the upscale Mamilla Mall in central Jerusalem for planning to place a bomb in a trash can during the Jewish New Year holiday.
In April last year, Rishk was sentenced to ten years in prison with another two-year suspended sentence, and Abu Mefalfal was sentenced to eight years in prison with a two-year suspended sentence.
In February, Saadi Ali Abu Ahmad, aged around 20, from al Azariya on the Mount of Olives, brutally attacked Israeli security guard Tzvika Cohen with an ax at a mall in the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim.
Charges were also brought Thursday against three Palestinians from the Dir Abu Mishal village for allegedly using laser beams to try to blind drivers on Route 465 near the West Bank settlement of Halamish, north of Ramallah. They are to be detained until the end of proceedings against them.
Thursday also saw the publication of details about a months-long security services sting that netted residents of the village of Beit Ur al-Tahta in the Binyamin region who are accused of throwing Molotov cocktails and rocks at Israeli vehicles traveling on Route 443 from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, as well as at IDF forces operating in the village.
Some 12 individuals, including minors, were allegedly involved in six attacks, hoping to harm Israelis and draw security forces into the village so that they could engage with them too.
The group was reportedly set up to avenge the death of Ibrahim Al’an, a terrorist from their village, who died along with another during an attack at Beit Horon on January 25 2016. Shlomit Krigman was murdered and another person injured in that attack.