Terror attack against Defense Minister thwarted

Islamic Jihad terror cell which planned to place bomb on Defense Minister's route arrested.

Ido Ben Porat ,

Avigdor Liberman
Avigdor Liberman
Flash 90

It has been cleared for publication that an Islamic Jihad terror cell which had planned a terror attack against Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman was revealed by security forces.

The cell was discovered through the efforts of Shin Bet forces, the IDF and Israel Police, who also discovered another cell which had intended to carry out attacks against civilians and soldiers in the Gush Etzion area.

The head of the cell, Mahmoud Awad Alasakra, 25, a resident of Bethlehem, had been under administrative detention between 2015-2017 for planning a terror attack. Another terrorist of the cell, Muhammad Ali Ibrahim Asakra, 32, had been imprisoned twice in Israel for terror activities, including planning an attack against IDF forces.

Six terrorists of the cell were arrested in the course of Shin Bet investigations.

During investigation of the members of the cell, it became clear that they had acted to purchase explosive materials to make a bomb, which they intended to place on the travel path of Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, also turning to terror officials in the Gaza Strip to receive funding for the attack.

When the cell members failed to purchase material for the manufacture of the bomb, they decided to produce a "dummy" bomb in order to receive funding and recognition for their activities and thus carry out additional attacks.

The bomb was confiscated by IDF forces during the arrest of the cell members.

The investigation also revealed that the motive for the activity of one of the members of the cell, like other young men in the Bethlehem area, was the desire to be arrested so as to receive a salary from the Palestinian Authority.

According to the Shin Bet, this is not the first time that a terror cell has been arrested after planning an attack on the Defense Minister. In 2014 a Hamas cell which had purchased RPGs in order to hit the vehicle in which Liberman traveled was arrested.

Interrogation of members of the cell now arrested revealed that they had known of previous attempts to attack the Minister, but thought they would succeed where others failed.

Members of the terror cells who were arrested will be indicted on Sunday in the military court in Judea.