Shin Bet Thwarts Bus Bombing by Gazan With Work Permit

The explosives handed over during the investigation of the Gaza resident to the Shin Bet. (Shin Bet)

The Shin Bet cleared for release Thursday that it had thwarted a bus bombing by a Gazan with a work permit in Israel.

The agency arrested 31-year-old Fathi Ziad Zakot, a resident of Rafiah in the southern Gaza Strip, whom the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group had recruited to plant a bomb on a bus in the south of the country.

The bomb and other materials were seized by security forces.

According to the agency, Zakot underwent explosives training by terrorists in the Hamas-ruled enclave and had begun collecting explosive materials to assemble the bomb while he was in Israel.

The Shin Bet said the investigation revealed that the attempted attack was directed by Jihad Na’am, a senior PIJ official in Rafiah. The investigation also found that it was two of his relatives, both PIJ activists, who had recruited him to carry out the attack.

The indictment said that while he initially refused to carry out the attack, “after a persuasive conversation, he relented.” He initially thought to carry out the attack in an event hall or shopping mall and then later decided to place the bomb on a bus that he used to take while in Israel.

The indictment also said that during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge, after an attack on a weapons warehouse that had been in the home of a PIJ operative, Zakat stored RPG bombs in his brother’s home and made sure to return them to the organization’s operatives when there was a lull in the fighting. He also assisted the group in moving concrete slabs from a PIJ position to the opening of a terror tunnel used by the group in 2016.

A source in the Shin Bet said that Israel holds Hamas responsible for the thwarted attack.

“Israel will not allow attempts to exploit the civilian intermediary by terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip to promote terrorist attacks and will deal with these attempts severely,” the source said, adding that the Shin Bet was working with the IDF and Police to locate and thwart any and all terror activity aimed against Israeli citizens.

Following the attempted attack and on the recommendation of the Shin Bet and IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the entry permits for some 200 residents of the Gaza Strip who are related to terrorists will be denied until further notice.

In addition, security forces will consider additional measures in order to ensure that future attempts to use civil measures such as work permits to carry out terror attacks be stopped.

“The investigation illustrates once again that terrorists in the Gaza Strip are investing a lot of effort in establishing terror infrastructures to undermine regional stability, including taking advantage of work permits issued by the State of Israel for the purpose of promoting military activity,” the Shin Bet said in a statement.

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