Bat Yam bus bombing
Bat Yam bus bombingFlash 90

A Bedouin Muslim with Israeli citizenship was charged Monday in the Tel Aviv Magistrates' Court for his part in a failed bus bombing in the city of Bat Yam, near Tel Aviv. The bomb was successfully planted in a bus and detonated, but serious casualties were avoided thanks to the passengers' and driver's alertness, and swift action by police.

The Tel Aviv State Attorney's Office filed charges against Mahmoud Abu Anza, 24, of Tel Sheva, for transporting the terrorist who planted the bomb. He is being charged with driving illegal infiltrators under aggravated circumstances, among additional crimes.

According to the charge sheet, Abu Anza drove Sami Alharimi, the terrorist who placed the bomb on the bus on December 22, to the scene of the attack. He is charged with six counts – conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor, driving illegal aliens under aggravated circumstances, transporting illegal aliens, driving without a vehicle license, driving without insurance and hindering a policeman in discharging his duty.

Abu Anza is accused of conspiring with Yousef Samamra and Yousef Awawda, two residents of Judea and Samaria who regularly transport illegal aliens, to transfer illegal aliens from Judea and Samaria into pre-1967 Israel. Samamra and Awawda took the men up to the Green Line and Abu Anza took them from there to various locations elsewhere in Israel.

On December 22, Abu Anza drove four illegal aliens into Israel, including Sami Alharimi, who was carrying a bag with an explosive charge in it. He dropped him off at the Clock Square in Jaffa (Yafo) at 12:40 p.m., where Alharimi got on the 240 bus to Bat Yam. Alharimi left the bag on the bus and got of, but shortly afterward, one of the passengers noticed the suspicious bag, and the driver stopped the bus and told the passengers to get off. Ten minutes after disembarking, at about 2:30 p.m., Alharimi remotely detonated the charge.

The State Attorney representative asked the court to keep Abu Anza in jail until the end of the legal proceedings against him.

“In this case,” wrote Attorney Nitzan Shafir, “the potential danger in driving illegal aliens from Judea and Samaria was realized: this is the danger of driving a terrorist to carry out a terror attack n the heart of Israel.”

Reports about the charge sheet do not mention whether or not Abu Anza was aware that he was transporting a terrorist, or whether he could or should have been aware of this. The charges against him appear to reflect a "soft" approach to his crime, as he is not charged with complicity in terrorism in any form.