The Southern District prosecutor has submitted an indictment to the Be'er Sheva district court against Fathi Zakut, aged 31, from Rafah in the Gaza Strip, on several terrorism-related charges including conspiracy to carry out an attack on a bus in Israel.

According to the indictment, last September Zakut met a Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) operative by chance, who suggested he carry out a bombing attack in Israel. At first, Zakut refused, but after some convincing, he gave in.

The two later met at the home of another PIJ operative, where Zakut admitted that he did not know how to build the bomb needed for the attack. He held a further meeting with members of the terrorist organization at which he received military explosives training.

Zakut then discussed the proposed site of the attack, noting the difficulty of attacking an event hall or mall, and suggesting attacking the bus on which he usually traveled within Israel.

A month later, Zakut entered Israel to work, although he did not have a permit. He purchased electrical wiring, an electricity meter, batteries, and lightbulbs in preparation for the attack. Shortly afterward, he was arrested.

The indictment also states that during Operation Protective Edge (in 2014), following the bombing of an arms cache at the home of a PIJ operative, Zakut kept RPG grenades that survived the bombing in his brother's home and made sure to return them to the organization's operatives when there was a lull in the fighting. In addition, in 2016, Zakut helped transfer concrete slabs from a PIJ outpost to the opening of one of the organization's tunnels.

The case was investigated by the Israel Security Agency and the anti-terror branch of the Israel Police Negev division.

The defendant will be charged with: weapons crimes, membership of a terrorist organization, participating in terrorism training, preparing to execute acts of terrorism (murder), staying illegally in Israel, providing services to an illegal organization, and contact with a foreign agent.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz commented: "The attempt by a terror organization to take advantage of the employment of workers in Israel to execute terror attacks endangers the income of hundreds of thousands of Gazans. I praise the ISA and security forces for preventing this attack. Over the last year and a half, I have led a policy of sealing security breaches, while allowing basic and humanitarian economic operation in Gaza. We reassess the situation constantly, and if we note a growing tendency to enlist operatives from Gaza to carry out attacks, Israel will reconsider its steps regarding the entrance of Gazan workers into Israel and other civilian relief."