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Jerusalem Terrorist Indicted for Gas Line Sabotage

Terrorist who had been cutting gas lines in Jerusalem in the hope of setting off a deadly explosion is charged with attempted murder.
By David Lev
First Publish: 3/23/2014, 11:36 AM

Aftermath of Gilo gas explosion
Aftermath of Gilo gas explosion
Flash90

Jerusalem prosecutors on Sunday filed an indictment against Aziz Awisat, a terrorist who carried out several attacks against Israelis. Most recently he was involved in attempts to cause gas explosions in Jerusalem, which he tried to do by cutting gas lines and causing leaks that he hope would be ignited. He was charged with attempted murder and assisting enemy organizations.

According to the indictment, Awisat decided to assist terror organizations because of Israel's policies on the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site. Jews are forbidden from praying there due to pressure by Muslim groups, who also revere the site, but even the severely-restricted visits to the holy site by Jews have elicited protests and violence by Islamists.

In April 2012, the indictment says, Awisat seriously injured a hareidi resident of Jerusalem in the center of the city in a brutal ax-attack. Awisat managed to strike his victim on the head, but miraculously, the man's injuries were surprisingly light, considering the force of the attack. Doctors at Jerusalem's Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center told journalists the victim suffered a broken skull but no internal bleeding.

According to the victim, Yosef Weisfisch, the brim of his hat “created an air pocket between his head and the point where the axe struck.”

Several months ago, according to the indictment, Awisat was on line at the National Insurance office in his Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber to collect a government stipend, and overheard security guards talking about the gas explosion in the city's Gilo neighborhood in January. He decided that gas explosions would be a good method to carry out a terror attack, and he began cutting gas pipes in the neighborhoods of Armon Hanatziv and Gilo in southern Jerusalem.

Awisat cut at least nine sets of gas balloons in both neighborhoods over a period of two weeks in February, and in one case, he went further and lit a candle adjacent to the building in an effort to set off a blast, officials said.

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 policies towards Gaza and because of the ascent of Jews to the Temple Mount.

Awisat was being interrogated by police, who are set to request an extend of his remand on Monday.