Scene of the failed bombing
Scene of the failed bombingצילום: יונתן זינדל, פלאש 90

A botched bus bombing attack south of Jerusalem two months ago was the work of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terror group, Israel’s Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) revealed Monday, adding that the plot was directed by operatives in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon.

On Monday morning, Israel’s military censor cleared for publication details of the investigation into the failed bus bombing in Beitar Illit on March 9th.

In a joint operation of the Shin Bet, the IDF, and the police, a terrorist infrastructure was exposed in the Bethlehem area last month which was responsible for the attempted bombing attack on a bus in Beitar Illit at the beginning of March. The cell had also planned to carry out additional terrorist acts.

As part of the investigation into the case, six terrorists were arrested from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, all of them members of a PFLP student cell operating on its behalf. The suspects were identified as residents of the Deheisheh refugee camp, Batir, and Beit Jala in the Bethlehem area.

In addition, an Israeli woman was arrested for transporting one of the terrorists across the Green Line on the day of the attack.

After being questioned, it was found in that the woman was not aware of the terrorist’s intentions though an indictment was filed against her for the offense of transportation of an illegal resident into Israeli territory.

During the investigation of the terrorists, their involvement in the planning and execution of the bombing attack on the bus in Beitar Illit was exposed, starting from the preparations they made for the attack and the distribution of roles among themselves, including recruiting a bomber, renting hideout apartments, one of which served as a bomb-making lab, manufacturing explosive materials for the explosives in the apartment, and purchasing a getaway car. Some of the members of the infrastructure also plotted to carry out additional attacks on behalf of the organization.

Authorities are preparing to charge the terrorists with attempted murder, manufacturing of explosive materials, membership in a terrorist group, and other charges.

The plot was orchestrated by senior PFLP terrorists including Ahmed Saadat – one of the plotters behind the assassination of Israeli minister Rehavam Ze’evi – and Sakr Abu Zaid. The cell’s handlers directed operations from Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.