(JTA) – Police in Israel arrested 12 Palestinians from the West Bank suspected of planning a bus bombing last month in Jerusalem.
The arrests took place in recent weeks but were only made public Sunday following the lifting of a gag order on the investigation of the April 18 bus attack in which 19 people were wounded.
The suspects, all in their 30s and 20s from the Bethlehem area, are believed to be active in Hamas circles, a police spokesperson told the news site nrg.
Mohammed Sammy Abedelhamid el’Aza, 28, who had been in an Israeli prison for three years until 2007 for planning attacks for Hamas, is suspected of recruiting Abelhamid abu-Srur, 19, to carry out the Jerusalem attack. Abu-Srur was fatally wounded and died two days after the bombing.
El’Aza reached out to some of the 11 other suspects to help him procure explosives that he used to make a bomb based on instructional videos he found online, police said. Others from that group were recruited to smuggle Abu-Srur from the West Bank into Jerusalem.
Of the victims wounded aboard the bus, two sustained serious injuries, six were moderately wounded and the rest were lightly injured.
The investigation also indicated that El’Aza used a homemade weapon last October to fire projectiles at Israeli cars near the West Bank settlement of Tekoa together with another suspect recently arrested, Mohammed Issa Mahmoud Elberberi, 28. No one was injured in that attack.