Security forces foiled a terror attack on a building housing Jewish residents in an area of Jerusalem overlooking the Old City. The neighborhood, Kfar Hashiloach, was renamed Silwan by Arabs rioters who drove out the Jewish community in the 1930s.

Israeli security forces were successful in thwarting a terror plot against security personnel in Jerusalem, the Shin Bet (Israel’s Security Agency) announced Thursday. The terror cell was part of a broader infrastructure operating against Israeli security forces and civilians in the capital.

The two ring leaders are Mahmad Nasser Abbasy, 21, and Murad Mahmad Custiro, 22. Abbasy was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror organization. One of the suspects in the case is a minor.

Abbasy admitted during questioning to employing a minor to conduct reconnaissance on the security arrangements at Beit Ovadia, a building housing Jewish residents in the predominantly Arab neighborhood of Silwan, with the intent of carrying out a shooting attack on the site. He then changed his course of action and chose to commit a terror attack using an ax and a knife, which he had hidden in his grandfather’s home.

From Kfar Hashiloach to Silwan

Beit Ovadia is situated in Kfar Hashiloach, or the Old Yemenite Village (Kfar Hateimanim ), located east of the City of David, overlooking the Shiloach Springs, the City of David, the Temple Mount and the Old City of Jerusalem. At its peak, 144 families lived in Kfar Hashiloach, which was a Yemenite-Jewish neighborhood until the residents were driven out by Arab rioters in the 1920s and 1930s, who renamed it Silwan.

Eastern Jerusalem was under Jordanian control between 1948 and 1967. In the 1990s, a number of Jewish families moved to Kfar Hashiloach, but most have armed Israeli guards, fearing attack by their neighbors.

Abbasy further admitted to preparing pipe bombs and Molotov-cocktails, which he gave to terrorists with the orders of throwing the explosives at Jewish homes.

All of the arrested terrorists admitted to having committed a variety of security-related offenses over the past year, including the throwing of rocks and the firing of firecrackers at security forces and Israeli targets.

All suspects are expected to be indicted in the coming days on counts of severe security offenses. “The exposure of the terror infrastructure and the arrests are part of the actions routinely carried out against terrorism in Jerusalem, this in accordance with the high threat level it poses and its possible evolving into more severe terror attacks against Jerusalem’s residents,” the Shin Bet stated.

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel