Israeli Arab with ties to Islamic State arrested over Jerusalem bus stop bombings

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The Shin Bet security agency and the Israel Police said on Tuesday that security forces had arrested an Israeli Arab man affiliated with the jihadist group Islamic State for a deadly double bomb attack in Jerusalem last month.

In the November 23 attack, Eslam Froukh, 26, reportedly detonated two bombs at two bus stops near the entrances to the capital. The attacks killed two people – 16-year-old Aryeh Schupak and 50-year-old Tadese Tashume Ben Ma’ada – and injured more than 20.

According to the Shin Bet, Froukh, an Israeli resident of Kafr ‘Aqab in East Jerusalem who lived most of his time in the Ramallah area, committed the attack because of his affiliation with the Islamic State.

The agency said Froukh, a mechanical engineer by trade, acted alone and taught himself how to make the bombs used in the attack, using internet guides.

The Shin Bet said Froukh tried to detonate another bomb while medical and security forces treated victims at the site of the second attack, but had technical problems and was unable to plant it.

In the days after the attack, security forces near the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim found several items apparently used by the terrorist in the attack, including a motorized scooter, a helmet, extra clothing – worn before, during and after attack attack – and five homemade bombs.

Tadasa Tashume Ben Ma’ada, 50, (right) and Aryeh Schupak, 16, killed in a bomb attack at the entrance to Jerusalem, on November 23, 2022. (Courtesy)

The Shin Bet said these items helped them identify the assailant, who was arrested several days later.

In another area of ​​the West Bank, near Ramallah, security forces located the site where Froukh allegedly tested his explosive devices. The Shin Bet said troops seized explosive materials, an improvised submachine gun and a prepared bomb similar to those used in the attack on Jerusalem.

Homemade bombs, an improvised weapon and other items allegedly belonging to Eslam Froukh, the suspected terrorist behind the November 2022 Jerusalem bomb attacks. (ShinBet)

The agency said it suspected Froukh was planning to commit another attack using the explosive device and weapon.

Several other suspects were arrested in the days following the bombing, but all were released.

Prosecutors are expected to file charges against Froukh in the coming days, which will include murder and other terrorism charges.

Outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid welcomed Froukh’s arrest, saying Israel would reach out to “any terrorist or terrorist group”.

“I closely followed the complex investigation and was updated on its details. I congratulate the Shin Bet, the police, the IDF and all security forces for the investigation that led to the capture of the terrorist,” he said in a statement.

“As we promised – we got to him. Israel will catch up with any terrorists who harm its citizens and deal with them to the fullest extent of the law,” he added.

The attacks came amid heightened tensions following a series of Palestinian attacks that have killed 31 people in Israel and the West Bank since the start of the year.

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