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Terrorist Who Cut Jerusalem Gas Pipes Nabbed

Hamas member cut gas pipes in Armon Hanatziv and Gilo in the hope of causing deadly explosions. He also stabbed a Jewish man two years ago.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 3/12/2014, 10:38 AM

Aftermath of Gilo gas explosion
Aftermath of Gilo gas explosion
Flash90
The Jerusalem Police, assisted by the Shin Bet, have arrested a terrorist from the Hamas organization, on suspicion that he has been cutting gas pipes in the neighborhoods of Armon Hanatziv and Gilo in southern Jerusalem in the last two weeks. 

The terrorist, Aziz Awisat of Jabal Mukabar, intended to cause deadly explosions by this method.

He also admitted to an axe attack two years ago that seriously injured a Jewish man.

Two sets of gas balloons in Armon Hanatziv were damaged last Tuesday. Dozens of residents were evacuated from the two affected buildings on the streets Shlomo Ben Yosef and Robovitch after the leaks were detected. As a result of the attack, dangerously high concentrations of gas filled the area.

The terrorist cut the main gas lines in both buildings; in one, he went further and lit a candle adjacent to the building in an effort to set off a blast.

Firefighting crews rushed to the scene to seal the leak, while police investigated whether the crime was nationalistically motivated. Armon Hanatziv is surrounded on three sides by Arab neighborhoods. 

It now appears that the perpetrator has been caught.

In his interrogation, the terrorist – a resident of eastern Jerusalem, 48, with six children – said that he wished to carry out a large scale terror attack in protest of Israel's policy toward Gaza and because of the ascent of Jews to the Temple Mount.

He also admitted that he attacked a hareidi man with an axe in Jerusalem's Haneviim street two years ago, causing his serious injuries. He said that he is sorry that he did not succeed in murdering him.

Captain Yaniv Piamenta of the Jerusalem Police Central Unit said that the suspect was arrested in his home by special units, after he had been located. He admitted to the stabbing attack as well as the vandalism to gas pipes in Armon Hanatziv and Gilo. The cutting of gas pipes was “inspired” by the Gilo gas explosion tragedy in January, said the police officer.

The January gas explosion killed Avraham Tufan, 56, his wife Galit, 42, and their baby son, Yosef-Haim, aged 2. Another woman, Linda Schwartz, 40, died of her wounds a few days later. That blast is believed to be an accident that resulted from possible negligence, but not a terror act.

Aziz Awizsat Shin Bet media