March 12, 2014 Wednesday 10 Adar II 5774
by Yaakov Lappin
Man linked to Hamas intentionally cut gas pipes in Armon Hantziv neighborhood in attempt to harm Jews.
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and Jerusalem District Police announced on Wednesday the arrest of a Palestinian resident of east Jerusalem on suspicion of cutting cooking gas pipes in residential buildings in Jerusalem, as part of a one-man terrorism campaign.
The suspect, 48-year-old Aziz Musa Uwisat, who holds an Israeli identification card and is a resident of Jabel Mukaber, is also suspected of a knife attack in 2012.
Security forces said Uwisat confessed during questioning that after hearing about a gas leak that led to a deadly building collapse in Jerusalem in January, he took the decision to sabotage gas pipes in residential buildings housing Israeli Jews, in order to kill as many people as he could.
"His motive was nationalistic, that is certain," a security source told The Jerusalem Post.
According to police, the man admitted to his interrogators that he had indeed carried out the crimes with the intent of harming Jews in revenge for the entrance of Jews to the Temple Mount.
The suspect also wanted to exact revenge for, what he termed, Israel's harming of innocent people in the Gaza Strip.
According to Channel 2, the suspect had been previously known to security forces as a Hamas operative.
According to Uwisat's confession, he arrived at a street in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of the capital on February 23, sabotaged a gas pipe in order to cause a fire, based on the understanding that residents were home.
At the start of March, he cut the gas pipes of a number of buildings in the same neighborhood, and left a candle lit near one of the gas links, hoping to cause an explosion.
In 2012, the suspect said, he purchased and axe and went to Damascus Gate in the Old City in order to murder an Israeli Jew. He noticed a haredi man walking down Hanivi'im street, and lunged at the man with an axe, striking him several times and causing serious injuries.
"The investigation continues," the Shin Bet said.
A massive gas explosion was narrowly averted last week after residents of Armon Hanatziv reported high concentrations of leaking gas and subsequently discovered two deliberately severed gas lines to their building, police said.
According to a police spokesman, upon smelling the odorous gas several residents promptly contacted officers who arrived within minutes along with Magen David Adom and firefighting units to prevent an imminent and deadly blast.
“The pipes were intentionally cut which caused extreme danger, so police evacuated three buildings in the area and shut off the gas supply,” the police official said shortly after the incident.
“Thankfully, we managed to prevent an explosion.”