Palestinian Indicted for Torching Sukkahs, Empty Bus in Central Israel

The Palestinian, a 29-year-old from Gaza, is accused of planning attacks on Israeli settlements and police officers

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The bus on fire in Ramla last month. Kaseb is accused of setting it on fire using a fire extinguisher he filled with diesel.
The bus on fire in Ramla last month. Kaseb is accused of setting it on fire using a fire extinguisher he filled with diesel.

A Palestinian from Gaza working in Israel was charged on Monday for setting fire to an empty bus and several sukkahs in the central city of Ramle, after allegedly receiving instruction from a military group associated with Fatah. 

The Central District Prosecutors Office charged the 29-year-old Khan Yunis resident, Suleiman Kaseb, with various acts of terror and accused him of membership of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, who provided him with military training before he entered. He received permission to cross the Gaza border into Israel to accompany his mother, who needed medical care.  

The Shin Bet security services allege that he took advantage of his permit to stage the arson attacks, which were recorded by security cameras. He is also accused of maintaining contact with Abu Saif al-Din, head of the al-Aqsa Brigades in Northern Gaza, as well as with the head of the organization’s communications office during his time in Israel, via the app Signal.

Messages between Kaseb and the organization obtained by prosecutors reveal that he intended to place grenades next to the gas tanks of a kibbutz where army and police officers lived, that he had been observing the spot over a period of 20 days and that he had identified a way to enter the kibbutz out of range of security cameras.

“I want a lot of victims,” he wrote in one of his messages, according to the indictment, which also charges him with planning shooting attacks on yeshivot in the settlements and at police officers. In some of the arson attacks he carried out, Kaseb spray-painted the organization’s nicknames at the site of the crime.

In response to Kaseb's request for al-Aqsa Brigades sponsorship, Abu Saif wrote “Now is the time to hide and rest in order to deceive the enemy” and “after your rest, we will arrange actions that will inflict pain on our enemy and avenge the blood of our daughters who have ascended to heaven at the death blockades of the Zionists.”

The indictment asserts that at a later stage, Abu Saif told Kaseb to prepare explosive devices, sent him instructions on how to do it and assured him that his expenses would be covered. Abu-Saif also suggested that Kaseb kidnap a Jewish Israeli and secretly bury him, so he could serve as a bargaining chip with the Israeli government as part of a future prisoner exchange. Kaseb was supposed to have been given money to buy weapons, but the funds hadn’t arrived before his arrest, according to the Shin Bet.

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