Security Officials Arrest Gang of Eight Terrorists

Stolen weapons. (IDF Spokesman, File)

The Shin Bet and Israel Police, along with assistance from the Border Guards, said Tuesday that they apprehended a gang of eight terrorists who were operating in Arab neighborhoods of Yerushalayim. The gang, which operated in the Silwan neighborhood, called itself “the Ghosts of Silwan.” The gang is accused of organizing and planning numerous terror attacks on Israelis.

Among the terror attacks the gang planned was a mass shooting attack on Israeli vehicles driving through Silwan, as well as at homes owned by Jews in the neighborhood. The gang conspired to acquire weapons to carry out the attacks. The leader of the gang, 39-year-old Mahmad Faroukh, a resident of Silwan, was in contact with terrorist groups in Lebanon and Gaza for this purpose, officials said.

As they planned their major attack, the gang carried out “lesser” attacks, including rock and firebomb attacks on Israeli vehicles, and attacks on Israeli security officers. In one instance, they threw gasoline on a security vehicle and then threw a firebomb at it, causing it to catch fire and explode. The gang members are to be indicted Wednesday, officials said.

Also Tuesday, police and Border Guard officers said they had discovered a large cache of weapons in a cellular phone store in an Arab neighborhood of Yerushalayim. Among the weapons found were pistols, shotguns, metal bars, and firecrackers, which were to be “mined” for gunpowder. The owner of the store, a 19-year-old Yerushalayim resident, was arrested and is being held on illegal weapons charges.