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Wael Abu Rida Photo: Roee Idan
Wael Abu Rida Photo: Roee Idan
 
 

Gaza man charged with planning terror attacks

Indictment filed against Wael Abu Rida for security offenses he committed as commander of terrorist cells in Fatah, Islamic Jihad and Hamas military wings

Ilana Curiel
Published: 07.19.13, 15:10 / Israel News

An indictment was filed on Friday against Waal Abu Rida, a 34-year-old Palestinian from Gaza, for security offenses, including attempted murder.

 

The Bani Suheila resident was arrested by security forces last month and a gag order on the arrest was lifted last week.

 

According to the charges, Abu Ridah served as a commander in the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and then moved to the Islamic Jihad and later to a Hamas shadow group.

 

He has been engaged in extensive anti-Israel activity since 2003. As part of his activities in the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, he fired at IDF tanks with the aim of killing soldiers. He also laid explosives on the Gaza border fence and took part in military training of 40 operatives near the Khan Younis hospital in 2005.

 

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He trained them to assemble bombs, engage in sniper fire, plan the abduction of soldiers, as well as fighting the IDF.

 

Abu Rida is accused of planning to carry out attacks against IDF soldiers with the intention of killing them. Along with others, he tried to plant explosives against military patrols, and was involved in a shooting incident in which one of the terrorists fired at IDF forces. Abu Rida filmed the attempted attack. One of the soldiers fell to the ground from the shooting, but was not injured.


אבו רידה בבית המשפט בבאר שבע (צילום: הרצל יוסף)

Abu Rida in court (Photo: Herzel Yosef)

 

In 2006, Abu Rida used a 14-year-old boy as a human shield: According to the indictment, he planned to carry out a shooting attack or plant explosives in an orchard, thus he carried a cargo of 10 kg into the area. The defendant noticed a boy and asked him to accompany him, in order not to not arouse suspicion. He hid the explosives and later blew them up, but no one was injured.

 

Additionally, Abu Rida is accused of conspiracy to excavate a tunnel from the Gaza Strip into Israel, for the purpose of carrying out an attack; he was also involved in an attempt to launch a rocket into Israel.

 

In 2008, Abu Rida was appointed commander of the Islamic Jihad's al-Quds Brigades. During Operation Cast Lead, four of the organization’s cells were put under his command, and their members were given instructions for laying explosives against IDF soldiers. 

 

2011: Moves over to Hamas

In 2011, he was approached by a senior member of a Hamas shadow group, and was asked to join the organization. Abu Rida agreed on condition that he could establish a squad which would serve under his command. The organization’s leaders gave their approval, and Abu Rida and his squad members performed armed guard duty against IDF soldiers.

 

That same year, Abu Rida also received a 200 kg barrel of TNT and was asked to place it in an area where IDF tanks passed, but in the end, the IDF forces did not cross that point. He was also charged of attempting and failing to launch rockets against Israel.


בני משפחתו של אבו רידה (צילום: רויטרס)

Abu Rida's family (Photo: Reuters)

 

Abu Rida's attorney, Mohammed Jabarin, said that the statement provided by his client throughout the investigation was false. "He was active in the Islamic Jihad, but gave a false version, and there's a reason for this. Ninety-nine percent of the indictment is inflated,” Jabarin said.

 

The state has withheld details of the indictment, even as Ynet has applied to allow publication of the circumstances under which Abu Rida arrived in Israel.

 

A decision in the case was supposed to be made on Friday at the Beersheba Magistrate’s Court, but the prosecution filed its indictment early, and the court decided not to rule on the request for permission to publish. The prosecution had argued that the case’s details could harm national security, even though the details have all already been published in the foreign media.

 

Elior Levy contributed to this report 

 

 

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