Gilo: Four died in blast caused by gas leak.
Four died in the gas blast that destroyed two apartments in Gilo, Jerusalem. Photo by Emil Salman
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Emil Salman
Fire-fighters rescuing the residents of the Gilo building, where an explosion following a gas leak inspired the would-be terrorist Aziz Uwisat. Photo by Emil Salman

A resident of East Jerusalem was arrested for sabotaging gas lines in order to blow up apartment buildings in the area, the Shin Bet security service said Thursday.

Aziz Uwisat, a resident of the Jabl Mukaber neighborhood who holds an Israeli identity card, admitted he had intended to commit a terror attack, the Shin Bet said.

He also admitted to attacking an Israeli with an ax in 2012.

He got his inspiration after hearing about four deaths in a gas explosion in Gilo, another neighborhood of Jerusalem, two months ago, Uwisat said during questioning.

On February 23 he went to Alexander Rubovitz Street in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Armon Hanatziv and damaged the gas pipeline, intending to burn down the building.

About a week later, in early March, he tried again, this time sabotaging gas lines to a number of residential buildings in Armon Hanatziv and Gilo.

In each of the cases, the gas leaks were noticed in time and firefighters evacuated people from the danger zone until the problems could be fixed.

In one case he left a lighted candle by the gas storage room, the Shin Ben says.

As for the attack in 2012, Uwisat says he bought an ax and went to the Damascus Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem.

He chose a target, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, hitting him on the head several times but causing little harm, the Shin Bet says.

The accident in Gilo, which happened in January, cost the lives of Avraham Toffan, 56, his wife Galit, 42, and their 2-year-old son Yosef. A neighbor, 50, died later.

Two apartments were completely destroyed by the blast.

Later it transpired that the Toffans had complained to their gas supplier about a heavy smell of gas in the apartment.

A technician had come but failed to find the source of the leak, and left.The courts have constrained his activities until the case is clarified further.