In a statement, Hamas’s “military wing”, the Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, said that the attack was carried out by a terror cell consisting of three members, one of which was Mohammed Assi, the 28-year-old terrorist who was eliminated Tuesday after holing up in a cave near Dolev, in the western Binyamin region.
The members of the terror cell also carried out several attacks before Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza, including a failed attempt to infiltrate the community of Shaar Binyamin, Hamas stated.
Several days after the failed attack, said the statement, the three terrorists prepared the bomb for the Tel Aviv attack, which weighed 17 kg and was operated by remote control. The explosive device was hidden in a suitcase. One of the terrorists in the group, Muhammad Faraj, boarded the bus, placed the suitcase on it, then got off the bus before the bomb was detonated.
Faraj and another member of the terrorist cell, Ahmed Musa, were arrested shortly after the attack. Assi was wanted by Israeli security forces until Tuesday’s elimination.
The Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades claimed that Hamas waited until now to claim responsibility for the attack in order to safeguard Assi.
Hours after the terror attack, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal claimed in a television interview that the group was not behind it.