A Palestinian terrorist planned to bomb the Jerusalem light rail last month with an explosive device containing poisonous material, Israeli police said Tuesday.
Ali Abu Hassan – a civil engineering student from a village northwest of Hebron – infiltrated Jerusalem on July 15 armed with three pipe bombs forming a large explosive. The terrorist doused nails and screws fitted on the explosive with rat poison to maximize the carnage.
Hassan researched how to make a bomb that would inflict "the most, and most effective, damage" and "even carried out test explosions with a number of bombs in order to check them before entering Israel," said the Shin Bet, Israel's internal security agency.
The investigation revealed that Hassan originally intended to attack a restaurant, but changed his target after seeing numerous civilians boarding Jerusalem's light rail. A security guard notified police after checking and discovering the explosive in Hassan's bag after boarding the train.
An Israeli court on Tuesday charged Hassan for building a weapon, attempted murder, and conspiracy.
Another major terrorist plot this year also involved the use of rat poison.
In June, Palestinian terrorists opened fire on a Tel Aviv café, killing four civilians and injuring 15 others. According to the indictment, the terrorists also planned to contaminate knives with rat poison and stab Israelis, going so far as to buy the poison, but never executed that part of the plan.
These incidents mark a significant development concerning the recent wave of Palestinian terrorism targeting Israelis. While most individual terrorist initiatives involved rudimentary means for attack – including stabbing and vehicular attacks – these high profile cases show that an educated Palestinian with the motivation to kill Israelis is capable of producing relatively sophisticated terrorist means that can maximize casualties. More importantly, the use of rat poison may signal the emergence of a new trend in which Palestinians seek to exploit unconventional attack methods, including chemical and biological agents, to inflict greater damage and spread fear throughout Israeli society.