East Jerusalem man charged with plotting shooting, backing Hamas

Resident of Ras al-Amoud allegedly tried to buy weapon to carry out assault in capital; security service says ‘serious attack’ thwarted

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Israeli security at a scene of a terror attack at the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah on October 9, 2016. (Shlomi Cohen/Flash90)
Israeli security at a scene of a terror attack at the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah on October 9, 2016. (Shlomi Cohen/Flash90)

An East Jerusalem resident was arrested for planning shooting attacks on Israeli security forces and civilians, Israeli officials said Thursday as charges were filed against the man.

Muhammad Mussa Abbasi, 25, from the Ras al-Amoud neighborhood in the capital, was arrested three weeks ago, the Shin Bet security service said in a statement, clearing the case for publication.

Over the past several months Abbasi made plans to carry out shooting attacks in East Jerusalem and unsuccessfully tried to obtain a weapon for that purpose. The suspect also tried to get information on making pipe bombs, although he did not put that idea into practice, according to the Shin Bet.

Investigators also discovered that Abbasi had been involved in several attacks in which Molotov cocktails, stones and firecrackers were thrown at security forces and Israeli vehicles in the capital.

He was charged in Jerusalem District Court with conspiracy to commit an attack in Jerusalem, destroying evidence, obstruction of justice, supporting a terror group, injury with grave intent, making and carrying weapons, and aggravated assault of a police officer., according to the prosecutor’s office.

State prosecutors intend to ask that he be detained until the end of proceedings, the Shin Bet said.

“The arrest of Abbasi, who, as an Israeli resident, had access to the whole city, prevented a serious attack in Jerusalem,” the Shin Bet said.

Aside from his plans to shoot at security forces and civilians, Abbasi also posted messages on his Facebook page inciting violence, calling for terror attacks against Israel and supporting terror group Hamas.

According to the officials, Abbasi voiced support for the suicide bomber who attacked the number 12 bus in the Talpiot neighborhood of Jerusalem last April and the shooters at the Sarona Market in Tel Aviv who killed four people in June.

“Abbasi’s arrest, and the results of his questioning, demonstrate once again the high level of threat from acts by lone attackers who are influenced by incitement on the web by terror organizations, and in particular Hamas, and who themselves incite to carry out attacks,” the Shin Bet said.

On April 18, West Bank resident Abed al-Hamid Abu Srour, 19, detonated a bomb on a bus in the capital, killing himself and injuring 21 people.

On June 8, two West Bank Palestinians opened fire on people in a restaurant in the Sarona Market, killing four and wounding 41. The shooters fled the scene but were captured alive by private security guards and police a short time later.

Both attacks came amid a months-long wave of stabbings and other assaults by Palestinians that has mostly subsided since the summer.

On October 9, a gunman tied to Hamas opened fire near central Jerusalem, slaying two people before being killed by police.

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