A day after his 18th birthday, Muhammad Mafarji left a bag containing an explosive device on bus No. 142 which was traveling in Tel Aviv. About 10 minutes after the terrorist got off the bus, as it reached Shaul Hamelech Street, the device was activated.
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Mafarji was indicted Wednesday at the Tel Aviv District Court. The charges include multiple murder attempts, aiding the enemy during wartime, and conspiracy to commit a crime. The most serious charge of aiding the enemy could result in a life sentence.
Tried to murder dozens of passengers. Muhammad Mafarji (Photo: Yaron Brener)
According to the indictment, in the two months before the attack the culprit lived in his uncle's house in Beit Lakiya while studying at Birzeit University near Ramallah. On the sixth day of the Israeli operation in Gaza, while shopping at a West Bank grocery shop, he expressed his desire to fight alongside Hamas activists in the Strip.
The store owner, Ahmed Mussa, asked him to come back later so he could guide him on how to fulfill his desire. He asked the young man to leave a bag on a bus as a trial.
On the eve of the attack, Mussa and Mafarji discussed the situation in Gaza and said they must stand by "the people dying there" and avenge the death of Hamas commander Ahmed Jabari. Mussa also asked Mafarji whether he knew any Israeli officials and promised to provide him with a gun to kill Israelis.
Bus after attack (Photo: AP)
The Palestinian prepared the explosive device and handed it to the young man inside a bag with clothes. He drove him to the Kharbata checkpoint, where the culprit met with his manager at the McDonald's restaurant in Modiin.
On the way there, Mafarji staged a phone call from his sick mother, pretended to cry and said he must get off at the Shilat Junction and go see her. After he got off the car, he took bus No. 111 to Tel Aviv.
Got off bus leaving explosives behind
He got off the bus in south Tel Aviv, moved to a different bus station, took a bus to north Tel Aviv and eventually got on bus No. 142 which was headed to Bat Yam. Before the bus reached its stop at the Diamond Exchange District in Ramat Gan, the terrorist pressed the button activating the explosive device and left the bag under the third seat on the right side of the bus.
Immediately after getting off the bus, he informed his operator.
When the bus reached the corner of Shaul Hamelech and Henrietta Szold streets opposite the Kirya base, Mussa activated the device through his cell phone, causing it to explode inside the bus, which was packed with dozens of passengers.
After the explosion, the culprit took a train from Tel Aviv to the city of Modiin and arrived at his workplace at 2 pm.
According to Prosecutor Hadas Forer-Gafni, "This is a very serious indictment. One of the serious charges is aiding the enemy at a time of war which could result in a life sentence, in addition to the other serious charges like attempted murder."