Palestinian Student Plotted Horrific Attack On Jerusalem Train

The pipe bombs found in Ali Abu Hassan's bag | Photo credit: Israel Police

Ali Abu Hassan, a civil engineering student from a village near Hebron, had been planning his attack for weeks, learning online how to build pipe bombs.

Efrat Forsher and Israel Hayom Staff

Police say explosives found in his bag were covered with nails and bolts, and dipped in rat poison.

The Palestinian man arrested two weeks ago in Jerusalem after a light rail security guard found explosives in his bag had planned his attack weeks in advance, seeking revenge for Israelis and tourists' visits to Al-Aqsa mosque, a joint Jerusalem District Police and Shin Bet security agency statement said Tuesday.

The man was identified as Ali Abu Hassan, 21, a civil engineering student from Beit Ula, near Hebron. Hassan has reportedly left a letter and a will at the Palestine Polytechnic University in Hebron, where he studied.

Hassan was arrested on July 17 by the Jerusalem District Police, who were called to one of the capital's light rail stations by a security guard, who suspected he found explosives in the young man's backpack. The suspicion proved true when the police found two knives and three pipe bombs in the backpack.

The investigation found Hassan had been planning the attack on the light rail for weeks, learning online how to assemble pipe bombs, and testing them in open fields on the outskirts of Hebron.

The Jerusalem Magistrates' Court on Tuesday granted the police's motion and remanded Hassan to police custody for an additional five days. Next week, the Jerusalem District Attorney's Office plans to indict him for attempted murder, conspiracy to commit a crime and illegally producing weapons.

Sources privy to the investigation told Israel Hayom that Hassan was not affiliated with any major terrorist group and was apparently working alone.

Investigators said Hassan had implicated himself in the act, telling the police he entered Israel through a valley near the southeastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Zur Baher. He then continued to an olive grove in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber, where he changed his clothes and trimmed his beard "to blend in better." He attended a prayer service at a Jabel Mukaber mosque, and then took a bus to the center of Jerusalem, where he began scouting a location for his attack.

He eventually chose the light rail station on the corner of King George Street and Jaffa Road -- one of the busiest intersections in Jerusalem, where he was stopped by a security guard.

Police sappers called to the scene found three pipe bombs in Hassan's bag. The devices were taped together and covered with nails and bolts, which he confessed to dipping in rat poison.

The guard's alertness prevented a devastating terrorist attack, the police said.


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