The Israel Security Agency – in conjunction with the Israel Police – has, in recent weeks, has uncovered a cell composed of youths, residents of eastern Jerusalem, which led violent clashes on the Temple Mount after prayers on Friday 27 July 2018.
The cell purchased fireworks that were smuggled onto the Temple Mount in order to attack the security forces stationed outside the site at the conclusion of Friday prayers.
It will be noted that four officers were injured; the Temple Mount was closed for several hours due to the violent events.
The ISA and Israel Police investigation revealed that behind the aforesaid cell was Hamas militant Abu Tzabih, a resident of Kfar Akav who holds an Israeli ID card, who was released several months previously after having been sentenced to approximately eight months imprisonment for activity on behalf of the Shabab al-Aqsa terrorist group. Tzabih is the son of Mutzbah Abu Tzabih who perpetrated the murderous 9 October 2016 shooting attack in Jerusalem in which Levana Malichi and Israel Police Sgt. Yossi Kirma were killed.
It was learned that it was Tzabih who led the violent event, arranged the financing for the purchase of the fireworks, ordered the recruitment of additional militants for the disturbances on the Temple Mount and directed that the fireworks be shot at the Israeli forces.
Also active was Rashid Rashk, a Hamas militant, who also holds an Israeli ID card, and who served a prison sentence (2014-2016) for involvement in a stabbing attack. Rashid recruited militants and instructed them on how to act during the event. In the weeks following the incident, Rashk was active in engineering a similar violent event on the Temple Mount but without success due to counter-terrorism efforts by the security forces.
Along with Tzabih and Rashk, eight additional residents of eastern Jerusalem were also arrested and are subject to legal proceedings for involvement in the violent event on the Temple Mount and other violent events in eastern Jerusalem.
The ISA and the Israel Police will continue counter-terrorism operations against all terrorist elements active on the Temple Mount in order to maintain quiet and stability there and prevent any attempt to escalate the security situation.