Palestinian held for Jerusalem bombings

The Israeli-Arab was captured just six days after the 23 November 2022 blasts that killed two people.

By Erin Viner

The Israel Security Agency (ISA, also known as the Shin Bet) and the Israeli Police announced in a joint statement that 26-year-old Islam Farouh was behind the twin bombings in the capital.

Farouh was described as a lone attacker who acted on a ‘salafi-jihadi ideology” who identified with the Islamic State terror organization, who carried out the attack “after a long period of preparation.” Another explosive device, along with a Carlo makeshift submachine gun, were found in Farouh’s possession during the raid. It is believed he had planned a third, failed attack.

The terrorist, an mechanical engineer who lived in an area between the northern Jerusalem Arab neighborhood of Kafr Akab and the Palestinian city of Ramallah, is accused of setting off the first explosive device at a busy bus stop at the Jerusalem’s main exit in Givat Shaul during rush hour and the second, 30 minutes later, at another bus stop near the outlaying  Ramot Junction. According to police, the bombs had been packed with nails to maximize casualties.

15-year-old Israeli-Canadian Jewish seminary student Aryeh Schupak succumbed to his wounds almost immediately. Tadesse Teshome Ben Ma’ada, 50, who sustained critical head wounds, died three days later. 23 others were wounded in the first terrorist bombings in Jerusalem since 2016.

The arrest came during the final days in office by Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who commended the Israel Police and all of the nation’s security forces for Farouh’s capture.

“Following a wide-ranging intelligence effort and investigation, the security forces have apprehended the reprehensible terrorist who carried out the double bombing in Jerusalem. I closely monitored this complex investigation and was updated on its specifics. I commend the ISA, the Israel Police, the IDF and all the security forces for their investigation that led to the apprehending of this terrorist,” he said.

“Just as we pledged, we found him. Israel will find every terrorist who attacks our citizens and will deal with them to the fullest extent of the law,” said the outgoing Israeli Premier, stressing that “The fight against terrorism continues around the clock. During the investigation an additional suspect was arrested, who is not involved in this attack but planned to carry out an additional attack in the capital, thereby saving the lives of Israeli citizens.”

Lapid, who was replaced by Benjamin Netanyahu in a smooth transition of power 29 December 2022, vowed that the nation would “continue to fight terrorism and deal with terrorists and those who dispatch them to the fullest extent of the law” to “do its utmost to deliver security for its citizens.”

The attacks evoked powerful memory of mass Palestinian bombings of Israeli civilian buses that were a hallmark of the Second Palestinian Intifada from the year 2000 through 2005.

A spokesman for the Islamist Hamas terror group in Gaza was swift to celebrate the latest attacks, but stopped short of claiming responsibility.

The bombings came amid a deadly surge of attacks against Israelis that killed 31 people in Israel during 2022.