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Bomb attack thwarted in Eilat hotel last month

Two Arab residents of Jerusalem indicted Thursday on charges of plotting a bomb attack in one of the coastal resort's hotels.

Cynthia Blank, | updated: 14:46

Flash 90

Prosecutors filed indictments with the Be'er Sheva District Court on Thursday against two Arabs originally from Jerusalem accused of planning a bomb attack on a hotel in Eilat. 

The pair, identified as Khalil Nimri and Ashraf Salaima, had been residing and working in Eilat for several years when they plotted to plant explosives inside one of the southern resort's many hotels.

The attack was apparently foiled thanks to the vigilance of the hotel staff who reported the suspicious-looking men to management, who in turn called in security forces. 

The terrorists have been charged with conspiracy to commit an offense to aid the enemy in wartime. 

According to the indictment, Nimri and Salaima met while working at a hotel in Eilat. Two months ago the pair got together and decided to attack Jews out of a desire to take revenge on Israel for the elimination of terrorists in the current terror wave. 

More specifically, one wanted to avenge the death of his childhood friend, who was killed while carrying out a stabbing attack in Jerusalem. 

Nimri suggested the two conduct a stabbing attack and kill a religious Jew, but Salaima objected on the grounds they would likely be caught and their action would thus carry no meaning. He then proposed planting a bomb in a hotel in Eilat, to which Nimri agreed.

The two began surveillance on the hotel from the outside, following a group of religious Jews staying at the hotel. One of the suspects also combed the internet for videos on how to prepare an explosive device. 

Salaima arrived at the hotel on November 30 pretending to be a prospective guest. He asked to view different hotel rooms and also expressed interest in the room located directly beneath the dining room, with the thought of planting the bomb there. 

He asked both the desk clerk and the housekeepers numerous questions which aroused their suspicions, including about entrances into the hotel, the hotel's occupancy level, and whether a group of religious Jews were expected soon. 

After questioning the staff members, Salaima left the hotel, and they immediately sprang into action. 

The receptionist and housekeeper reported the visit to the hotel's management and security staff eventually leading to both Nimri and Salaima's arrests, thereby thwarting the attack and saving the lives of dozens of people.