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Revealed: How Terrorists Planned Jerusalem Mall Bombing

Terrorist who masterminded Mamilla Mall attack also planned rocket attacks on Beit El, Psagot.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 9/12/2013, 3:04 PM

Mamilla Mall, Jerusalem
Mamilla Mall, Jerusalem
Flash 90

A would-be terrorist from Ramallah was indicted in a Jerusalem court on Thursday on a string of charges relating to a plot to bomb the Mamilla shopping center in Jerusalem. The accused, 22-year-old Hamdi Rumana, allegedly planned to fire rockets at nearby Israeli communities as well, and had sought to purchase a gun for use in attacks.

Rumana first decided to attack Israelis in March 2013, according to the indictment, and planned to place a bomb in a crowded Jewish area in Jerusalem.

In order to put his plan into action, Rumana learned how to make bombs using guides he found on the internet, and worked to gather the chemical materials he would need. He turned one of the rooms of his house into a bomb-making lab.

He forged ties with three other Ramallah men, who helped him to gather the materials he needed, including potassium nitrate, glycerol, and ammonium nitrate.

Rumana attempted to prepare not only bombs, but also explosives for a rocket. He planned to create rockets for use against the nearby Israeli communities of Psagot and Beit El.

In April, he met with his cousin, Ahmed Rishak, a Jerusalem resident, and told him about his plans to attack Israel. He asked Rishak to help him gather materials, and to plant the bomb in Jerusalem when it would be ready.

Two weeks later, he asked Rishak to help him purchase a gun, as well. Rishak said he would check the prices.

In July, Rumana and Rishak met in the latter’s home in Jerusalem. During the meeting Rumana proposed planting the bomb in the Mamilla shopping center, and asked Rishak if he knew someone who could help them. Rishak suggested his brother-in-law, Ismail Abu-Mfalfal.

Rishak spoke to Mfalfal, who agreed to help, and who provided dozens of small metal pellets for the bomb to achieve maximum carnage. Mfalfal also offered to obtain pool-cleaning liquid to make the bomb more potent.

Rishak then brought the new material to Rumana’s house in Ramallah. Later, Rishak, Mfalfal and Rumana all met in a Ramallah restaurant to discuss the details of the planned attack. They decided their best option would be to disguise the bomb as a gift, such as a box of chocolates, and to plant it during a Jewish holiday, when many people would be visiting the shopping center.

At some point in July, Rumana turned to Ramallah resident Saad Mohammed and asked for his help in obtaining a gun which they hoped to use to attack an IDF checkpoint near Jerusalem.

Rumana and his accomplices were arrested by the Shin Bet before they could carry out their plans. They confessed to the charges against them and admitted to further terrorist plots, including a plan to kidnap an IDF soldier.