Israel Uncovers Hamas Terrorist Lead Temple Mount Attack Last Summer

The Temple Mount is a Palestinian tool for inciting violence. Illustrative Palestinian banner of gunmen and Dome of the Rock. By Joshua Spurlock

A Hamas operative led the attack that launched fireworks at Israeli security forces guarding the Temple Mount in Jerusalem last summer, injuring four officers in a violent event that resulted in the holy site being closed for hours. A press release from the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) said that the terror cell’s leader was Hamas militant Abu Tzabih, who also ordered the fireworks be launched at Israelis and coordinated the purchase of the fireworks that were smuggled into the holy compound for the attack.

Tzabih also instructed the cell to recruit more members for what eventually became a 10-terrorist team that included 8 residents of eastern Jerusalem. Tzabih is not new to violence against Israelis—he had previously been arrested for involvement in another terror group and is the son of Mutzbah Abu Tzabih, who murdered two Israelis in an October 2016 shooting attack.

The Temple Mount is a particularly sensitive area as a holy site for Jews and Muslims, although Muslims are the only sect allowed to pray at the location. The site has been a flashpoint for additional violence either due to events on the Temple Mount—such as the Palestinian’s 2017 shooting attack—or when used in incitement from Palestinian leaders.

Said the ISA press release on the latest arrests, “The ISA and the Israel Police will continue counter-terrorism operations against all terrorist elements active on the Temple Mount in order to maintain quiet and stability there and prevent any attempt to escalate the security situation. “

Tzabih wasn’t the only Hamas terrorist involved in the July 2018 attack. Rashid Rashk—previously arrested for involvement in a stabbing attack—was another Hamas member involved. Rashk provided guidance on the clash and recruited terrorists.

The ISA noted that Rashk didn’t stop in the one incident—the terrorist also was later involved in another attempted violent event on the Temple Mount that was foiled due to counterterrorism efforts.

While Hamas holds power in the Gaza Strip, they have long sought a foothold in other regions of Israel and have been involved in terrorism across the country.

(By Joshua Spurlock,, September 20, 2018)

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