The Tayibe resident arrested on suspicion of placing a bomb on a bus in Tel Aviv last week is a member of the extended family of Palestinian female terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, Ynet has learned.
In 1978, Mughrabi led a terrorist cell that carried out the Coastal Road massacre which killed 35 Israelis. Mughrabi herself was killed in a fire exchange and emerged as a national Palestinian hero.
- Shin Bet arrests Tel Aviv bus bombing suspects
Israeli defense sources claim that the three other suspects in last week's attack which injured 29 people are members of a terrorist cell from the village of Beit Liqya, near Ramallah.
Sources in the village said that the Tayibe suspect has another relative who planned two terrorist attacks during the al-Aqsa intifada.
Meanwhile, the suspects' families claim that their relatives were in the village on the day of the attack.
Tel Aviv bus bombing (Photo: Getty Images)
Hamas flags can be seen from every corner at the entrance to the village. "Some 10,000 people live here and 60% of them support Hamas," one resident said.
The mother of two of the suspects said that police forces took away her two sons and that she does not know where they are held.
"On the day of the attack my children were in the village," she claimed. "I don't believe they were complicit in the attack because they have no permits to enter Israel."
She further added, "The State of Israel has killed some of our own too and it's hard to stay silent. What they do is right and what we do is wrong? Every person wants to defend themselves. If my boys have anything to do with the attack then I am proud of them and their actions, and I thank God."
The mother of the third suspect said that security forces used a PA system to call her son to turn himself in. "We didn't understand what he did," she said. "We were scared to open the door.
"Eventually they came in, took the women and the children out of the house, took my other son and asked him to undress so they could search him. They later found out that my son was arrested at his sister's house."
She too claims that her son is innocent. "On the day of the attack, there were no unusual signs that my son had done anything out of the ordinary. I'm sure he didn't do anything. I don't know what to say about the issue of terrorist attacks. I'm neither for or against them. We are not a politically-oriented family."
'Police treated us with respect'
The suspect from Tayibe was apprehended at the Modiin rail station. His mother is adamant her son was not involved in the attack.
"We're a respectable family and we don't look for trouble," she said. "I still can't believe my son was involved. I'm willing to visit the wounded and tell them that."
She further added, "My son travels the bus every day and has never thought about carrying out a terrorist attack or anything like it. He believes in co-existence and peace between the two peoples. He was working to build his future and was planning to study engineering or chemistry at the Hebrew University."
The mother stressed that she has no claims against the police. "On the contrary, they treated us with respect and tried to calm us down."
The Shin Bet said Thursday that the terrorist, an Israeli citizen who previously lived in the West Bank and was allowed to settle in Tayibe under the family reunification law, was recruited by a terror cell from the village of Beit Liqya.
The terror cell members used a car belonging to the suspect's employer to transport the explosive device into Tel Aviv. The employer, an east Jerusalem resident, had no knowledge of the plan.
According to the Shin Bet, the suspect planted the bomb on the bus and then called the terror cell's commander in Beit Liqya, who then activated the device via mobile phone. More arrests are expected.
During their interrogation the terror cell members, who are affiliated with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, admitted to preparing the explosive device and selecting Tel Aviv as the target. They purchased cell phones that were later used to detonate the device by remote control. A gag order has been issued over the suspects' identities.
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