Israeli police on Tuesday announced the arrest of a suspect responsible for bombings at two bus stops last month that killed two people and injured more than 20 people, including two Americans.
A 26-year-old Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem, Aslam Faruch, was arrested as a result of a joint investigation by Israeli police, security forces and the Israel Defense Forces. Police said the suspect has a Salafi-jihadi ideology linked to the terrorist organization ISIS.
According to Israeli police, Faruch, a mechanical engineer by training, is accused of masterminding the November 23 attacks, when bags containing explosives were remotely detonated at two bus stops. The blasts were condemned by world leaders, and US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides called the blasts “cowardly terrorist attacks”.
Two Israeli citizens, Tadasa Tashume Ben Maada and Aryeh Shechopek, were killed in the explosions.
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This was reported by the Israeli TV channel i24 News was initially arrested on November 29, but has not been allowed to be published until now because of a gag order for his arrest.
Faruch fled the scene of the attacks on a motorized scooter and hid in a cave in the Judean desert, where an explosive device was also found.
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Investigators say Faruch was unknown to Israeli counterterrorism agencies before his arrest. DNA evidence linked him to evidence found at the scene of the bombings, The Jerusalem Post reported. Another suspect was arrested and charged with planning another terrorist attack with an explosive belt, police said.
“In the course of the investigation, additional suspects were arrested. It turned out that one of the suspects planned to carry out a separate terrorist attack in the area of the central bus station in Jerusalem,” the Israeli police said. “The arrest of the suspect frustrated his intentions.”
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In a statement, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid applauded the authorities for Faruch’s arrest.
“After an extensive intelligence effort and investigation, the security forces have captured the suspected terrorist who carried out the twin bombings in Jerusalem. I have closely followed this complex investigation and learned about its unique aspects. I am the ISA, I commend the Israeli police, the IDF and all security forces for their investigative work that led to the capture of this terrorist,” Lapid said.
“As we promised, we found it,” he added. “Israel will find every terrorist who attacks our citizens and deal with them within the law.”