Israeli-Arabs Arrested in Plot to Kill Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef

An Arab from north Jerusalem exploited his delivery job for a Jewish grocery store to plan an operation to assassinate Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, one of Judaism's most revered Torah scholars.

, | updated: 17:38

Three Israeli-Arabs from north Jerusalem, members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization, have been arrested for plotting to murder Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, spiritual mentor of the Shas Party and one of the great Torah scholars of this generation.

One of the conspirators, Mussa Darwish, 22, a resident of the northern Jerusalem Arab neighborhood of Issawiya, learned the location of the rabbi’s home while working as a delivery boy for a grocery store in the Jewish neighborhood of Givat Sha'ul.

Security sources say that Darwish then shared his idea of killing the elderly rabbi with two other PFLP terrorists: Salah Hamuri, 20, a French citizen from Dahyat Al- B’rid, near N'vei Yaakov in Jerusalem, and Mutsan Mohammed Yavsha, 25, from Anatah. All there are Jerusalem residents who carry Israeli identification cards.

Shortly after Hamuri’s release from jail a year ago on charges relating to terrorist activity, the three began to rebuild the PFLP’s infrastructure among the Israeli-Arab community in northern Jerusalem.

Darwish and Hamuri planned out the attack in January, carrying out surveillance of the rabbi’s home and planning their arrival and escape from the area. The two terrorists planned to murder the rabbi outside his home in the Har Nof neighborhood, and then escape on motorcycles.

The PFLP terrorists were arrested just before carrying out the attack. They had been awaiting orders from more senior officials in the organization regarding the method to be used for executing the murder.

According to the security services, the PFLP cell had also been gathering weapons and ammunition to be used for other terrorist attacks against Jewish targets in the capital.

The PFLP was responsible for the murder of Israel’s Minister of Tourism, Rehavam Ze'evi, at Jerusalem’s Hyatt Hotel in 2001. Since then, the organization has been regrouping in order to carry out another sensational murder against an Israeli public figure, recruiting mainly among Israeli-Arabs who have free access to anywhere in the country.

Zeevi’s murderers, jailed in Jericho under an agreement with the Palestinian Authority, apparently gave their approval to kill the rabbi, Haaretz reported.

Security sources say that the PFLP's Jerusalem activities allow it the potential of striking anywhere in the capital, giving them a significant head start on any operation to eliminate an Israeli figure.

The PFLP attempt to murder Rabbi Yosef was made despite beefed up security around the rabbi’s home. Shas Party figures demand still more security for their leader.

Since their arrest, one terrorist has been indicted in Jerusalem District Court, while the two others are still being interrogated.




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