An East Jerusalem man has been arrested by Israeli security forces on suspicion of planning terror attacks in the capital, according to information released Wedensday by the defense establishment.
According to information approved for publication Wednesday, the man was arrested for allegedly cutting gas pipes in residential buildings in Jerusalem, in a bid to cause a blast that would target the city's Jewish residents.
Ziz Mussa Salam Auysat, a 50-year-old Arab from East Jerusalem, was arrested in a joint operation by Jerusalem District Police, the Shin Bet security service and the Border Police some three weeks ago, after allegedly cutting gas pipes in the East Talpiot area of the city. He has been in custody since, and police say he has confessed to the allegations during questioning.
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According to police, Auysat admitted cutting pipes to harm Jews in retaliation to their ongoing presence on the Temple Mount and IDF operations in Gaza. As such, he is considered to have a nationalistic motivation for his actions.
According to security forces, the suspect previously attempted to attack an ultra-Orthodox man with an axe some two years ago. The police further claim that he began cutting the pipes after a gas cylinder exploded in the Gilo neighborhood of Jerusalem in January, killing four people.
Police questioning revealed that Auysat begun cutting the pipes at the end of February, first targeting a residential building in Alexander Rubowitz St. where he intended to cause a fire in the building, even though he knew there were people inside at the time.
In early March, the gas pipes were cut in three buildings on Alexander Rubowitz and Shlomo Ben Yosef streets, both in East Talpiot. In addition, a candle was lit by the pipes in one of the buildings, most likely in the hopes of creating a greater fire. The leak was located and treated by firefighters.
Yoav Zitun contributed to this report