Bus bombing attempt by Gaza worker thwarted

Israel’s Shin Bet internal security agency foiled bus bombing attempt last month by Gaza man with entry permit working on behalf of Islamic Jihad terror group.

By World Israel News Staff

Israeli security forces foiled a terrorist plot to bomb a bus in southern Israel last month, the Shin Bet internal security agency revealed Thursday morning.

The plot was hatched by terrorists from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization’s branch in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafiah, who enlisted a 31-year-old Gazan named Fathi Ziad Zakot in September.

Zakot underwent extensive training over the course of weeks, and was instructed by his handlers to collect explosive materials and assemble them into a bomb after he entered Israel.

Islamic Jihad selected Zakot due to his possession of a valid work permit, allowing him to enter Israel.

Zakot was not a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, but had assisted the terror group in the past.

During Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, Zakot helped Islamic Jihad terrorists to transfer weapons from a warehouse damaged by an Israeli airstrike to his brother’s home, and later returned the weapons.

Two years later, Zakot aided Islamic Jihad in moving concrete slabs to a terror tunnel.

Nevertheless, Zakot initially refused Islamic Jihad’s attempt to recruit him for the bus bombing plot.

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He later relented, however, after a “persuasive conversation” with a member of the terror group, prosecutors wrote in Zakot’s indictment, which was filed Thursday, in conjunction with the Shin Bet announcement.

The indictment notes that the bombing plot was orchestrated by Jihad Na’am, a top Islamic Jihad official in southern Gaza.

Shin Bet agents arrested Zakot in October, after he entered the country and began assembling a bomb.

“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,” a spokesperson for the Shin Bet said.

In the wake of Zakot’s arrest, the Defense Ministry’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) suspended entry permits for roughly 200 Gazans related to known terrorists.

Thursday’s announcement comes a day after twin bombing attacks at Jerusalem bus stops left one person dead and 18 more injured.