"I spoke to him on the phone on the morning of the day he was arrested, and he told me that he was on his way to work. I am sure that he is innocent and that he had nothing to do with the bombing," said the mother of the suspect, an Israeli citizen who previously lived in the West Bank and was allowed to settle in the Arab city of Tayibe under the family reunification law.
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"My son got his driving license only a week ago and was very happy, but unfortunately he didn't have time to rejoice," the mother said in an interview to Ynet, stressing that she was very surprised by his arrest.
"My son doesn't go anywhere on his own," she added. "He has no friends and he doesn't hang out with anyone. On Friday he goes to the mosque, participates in the Friday prayer and comes home. Everything that has been said about him is a lie."
Tel Aviv bus bombing leaves 29 people injured (Photo: AP)
Attorney Ihab Jaljuli, who plans to represent the suspect, said that "the case must be looked into thoroughly because there may be some mistake. According to my examination, I don't think he could have anything to do with the attack – he comes from a respectable family, working people, who have everything they need."
Arrested at Modiin railway station
A police investigation into the terror attack revealed that the suspect was arrested at the Modiin railway station several hours after planting the explosive device on bus No. 142 in Tel Aviv.
Four additional suspects, residents of the West Bank who are affiliated with a terror cell from the village of Beit Lakia, near Ramallah, were arrested after the attack.
Residents of Tayibe, where the main suspect lives, believe he is innocent.
"I spoke to the suspect's mother and she told me he had nothing to do with the attack. I find it hard to believe that he could carry out a terror attack. People must have fooled him," said one of the family's neighbors.
Another neighbor, Walid Maghai, commented on the suspect's family, saying: "My neighbors are wonderful people. I don't believe this whole story and I hope the suspect is released."
Attorney Shouaa Mansour of Tayibe said that the majority of the city's residents condemned the attack. "This city has enough problems. Tainting the reputation of the entire city is unfair. The residents of Tayibe believe in coexistence, despite the social gaps, and condemn any act of violence. The killing of people has no justification."
According to Mansour, the suspect comes from the territories, "so they should check how he even received a permit to live in Israel."