A terror cell including a 24-year-old Arab Israeli Arara resident and two Arab brothers from the town of Bani Na’im near Hevron, planned to blow up a train in the Binyamina station, abduct an Israeli citizen from Afula, and execute a terror attack in a military base near Ara village.
An indictment was issued on Monday to the Haifa District Court. The Shin Bet stated that the Arab terrorists were familiar with the locations in which they planned to execute their attacks from their work in the area as undocumented residents.
The indictment stated that two brothers—Hassan Sidat, 23, and Mohammad Sidat, 25—were illegally residing in Arara village, which is in Wadi Ara.
Mohammad Sidat worked in a carpentry shop where he met Mamdouh Younis from Arara. Three years ago, Mohammad Sidat told Younis that he intended to place explosive devices at the Binyamina train station or on the tracks to murder many Jews; however, Younis was reluctant and refused at the time, fearing the two might get caught due to the multiple security cameras in the area.
The indictment further stated that two years ago, Hassan Sidat decided to join Hamas and form a terror cell. He contacted a Hamas operative in Gaza, asking him for assistance and funding. The Gaza operative, Mahmoud Kassas promised to assist, and following his instructions, Hassan Sidat planned to abduct an Israeli from an Afula hitchhikers’ station as a bargaining chip. Hassan Sidat recruited another citizen from Bani Na’im named Mohammad Atrash, who purchased a rifle on his behalf.
In the second half of 2015, Younis and Sidat planned to “execute a terror attack, during which they would cause a powerful explosion in a crowded location in Israel, and kill many Jews,” stated the indictment. They discussed possible crowded locations for the attack, emphasizing those frequented by soldiers.
Younis suggested the Binyamina train station as an appropriate place for an attack, after refusing to plan an attack in that same location, a year earlier. The two planned to use a vehicle filled with large amounts of explosives, and even agreed on using their own vehicle for that purpose.
According to the Prosecutor’s Office, the two told Mohammad Sidat of their plan to execute the terrorist attack, but he preferred doing it alone. The defendants decided to learn how to make an improvised explosive device. To that extent, Hassan Sidat asked Younis to get a hold of some improvised explosive devices so they could learn their composition.
One of the defendants also tested an explosive device in an open area in Ara. They used several refrigerator compressors and fire extinguishers in their explosive devices and stored them in a carpentry, however, the attack was ultimately not carried out.
In the beginning of 2016, Mohammad Sidat provided his brother, who was working for Hamas, with information regarding possible targets for terror attacks, including the Binyamina train station, a Zikhron Ya’akov synagogue, and a Wadi Ara bus station where there is usually a substantial presence of soldiers.
Sidat and Younis planned to purchase a car with their own money, which would be used to execute the attacks and for the transfer of weapons. The two even planned to purchase a lathe shop in Jerusalem they would have used for the preparation of explosive devices.
On December 31, Hassan Sidat was arrested, and his brother Mohammad was arrested a week later along with Younis. The indictment attributes charges of membership in a terrorist organization, providing services to an illegal association, contacting a foreign agent, undocumented residency and firearms offenses. In addition, Younis is also accused of conspiring to assist an enemy at war.