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Jerusalem Arabs Charged in Banquet Hall Terror Plot

Four men planned to dress as hareidi Jews and open fire on a Jewish celebration at a Jerusalem banqueting hall.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 2/5/2014, 4:09 PM

Terrorist (illustration)
Terrorist (illustration)
Thinkstock

The Jerusalem District Attorney's Office filed charges to the city's District Court Wednesday against three Arab residents of eastern Jerusalem who planned a sadistic murder spree at a banquet hall.

Anas Awisat, Basel Abidat, Ahmed Srur and Amru Abdu of Jabel Mukabar, aged 19 to 21, were charged with conspiring to assist the enemy in wartime.

The charge sheet says that in early December, 2013, Awisat and Abidat decided to carry out as terror act against Jewish civilians in Jerusalem, for nationalist reasons and in order to assist the terror campaign being waged by Palestinian terror groups against Israel.

They decided that the best way to murder a large number of Jews would be via an attack on a banquet hall during a celebration. Awisat suggested the View Banquet Hall in the capital's Bayit Vegan neighborhood, where he had worked for a short period of time in the past. He said that events at the hall number 800 to 1,500 people.

Awisat and Abidat planned to show up at the hall in hareidi garb, and enter from the main entrance, along with the guests. They began looking for weapons and decided that mini-Uzi submachine guns would best suit their purpose, because their small size makes them easy to conceal, yet are highly effective and can kill a large number of people.

The contacted a weapons dealer in the Palestinian Authority (PA) and asked him to quote a price for two mini-Uzis. The dealer asked for 50,000 shekels and said it would take him a week to supply them with the guns, once they paid him. Awisat and Abidat met the arms dealer two more times and told him they had not yet come up with the money.

In mid-December the two recruited Ahmed Srur to the group, to help carry out the attack. Srur said that he had 15,000 shekels that he was willing to invest in buying the weapons. Shortly afterward, the three drove to the banquet hall, parked the car nearby and approached on foot to observe the main entrance and the service entrance. They agreed that they would enter through the men's side of the main entrance and carry out the attack there. A few days later, however, Srur had a falling out with the other two and announced that he was no longer interested in carrying out the attack.

In early 2014, Awisat and Abidat recruited Amru Abdu to carry out the attack with them. They decided that it would be best if all three took part in the shooting, to maximize the carnage.

In addition, in early 2013, Srur contacted Awisat and two other individuals and tried to convince them to carry out a terror attack against Jews with him, but Awisat and the others refused.