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Alleged Tel Aviv bus bomber charged

JTA

December 19, 2012 | 9:37 am

Israeli police officers stand around a damaged bus at the scene of an explosion in Tel Aviv on Nov. 21. Photo by REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Israeli police officers stand around a damaged bus at the scene of an explosion in Tel Aviv on Nov. 21. Photo by REUTERS/Baz Ratner

An 18-year-old Palestinian man was indicted for allegedly leaving a bomb on a Tel Aviv bus that left more than 20 Israelis wounded when it detonated.

Mohammed Mafarja was charged Wednesday in Tel Aviv District Court with planting the bomb on the No. 142 bus in central Tel Aviv that was detonated on Nov. 21 during Israel's Operation Pillar of Defense. The indictment says he planted the bomb on behalf of Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, in order to help them during the conflict.

Mafarja allegedly informed other members of a terrorist cell supporting Hamas when the bomb was planted and got off the bus. It was then detonated using a mobile phone, as it passed near the central army base called the Kirya.

The teen has Israeli citizenship as part of a Palestinian family unification program and worked in the city of Modi'in. Three other members of the terror cell, all from the West Bank, were arrested in connection with the attack.

The indictment charges Mafarja with assisting the enemy, attempted murder, conspiring to commit crimes, detonating explosive devices causing severe damage, carrying and conveying a weapon or explosive device and assisting an illegal organization.

No trial date has been set.

Mafarja's attorney told reporters that his client did not know that the bomb would cause such destruction.

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