‘I saw elderly people in the back of the bus and began shooting’
The terrorists behind the heinous terror attack on a Jerusalem bus on October 13 planned their killing spree the night before, new details released Tuesday reveal.
The Jerusalem District Attorney filed charges several weeks ago against Balal Abu Ghanem, 21, of Jabal Mukabar, who carried out the attack with accomplice Bahaa Alian.
The indictment revealed that Alian approached Ghanem to plan the attack on October 12, but Walla! News published full recordings from the investigation Tuesday which showed a higher degree of coordination between the two than the short preparation would suggest.
“Baha came to me in the store where I worked on the night of the attack,” he told investigators. “He told me that he had 20,000 shekels, and he wanted to get a gun. I asked him: ‘Why a gun?’ He replied that he wanted to kill Jews.”
“I told him that if he managed to get a gun, I would go through with the attack.”
The two launched the attack “for the sake of Al-Aqsa Mosque” – located on the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site – and because “settlers murdered little children,” he added, apparently referring to both the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s incitement over the Mount and an arson attack by as yet unidentified assailants on a family in Duma earlier this year.
Baha managed to purchase a gun that night, in the Arab village of Abu Dis directly east of Jerusalem; the gun dealer from whom he bought the weapon has still not been located, over six weeks after the attack.
The next morning, he approached Abu Ghanem in the liquor store in which he worked.
“Baha arrived that morning and saw my knife at the store and told me that it would be perfect for the attack; he took it,” Abu Ghanem stated. “We went to the shop where Baha worked and when I arrived he showed me the gun, first thing. There was a clip with 14 bullets.”
Alian taught Abu Ghanem how to use the gun there and then, including turning the safety off.
“I shot them till I ran out of bullets”
“I put it in my belt and we left,” he said. “Baha took the knife with him and hid it in his pants.”
The two calmly made their way to the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood, just minutes from where Abu Ghanem lives. They then boarded the 78 bus, and shortly afterwards Abu Ghanem began shooting,
“I took out the pistol, cocked it and I turned to the people sitting in the back of the bus and began shooting them,” he recounted. “Baha turned forward and started stabbing.”
“I saw an elderly man and another elderly woman and other people – I shot them and saw them get hurt and then I ran out of bullets,” he continued. “I was waiting for the police to come kill me. Baha came and took my gun. The knife was still in his hand.”
“The police came and Baha began to scare the police who were outside the bus, threatening them with the gun,” he added. “The police started to shoot at us and hit me and I fell to the floor.”
“I do not know what happened after that.”
Baha was shot dead by Border Police responding to the attack, while Ghanem was seriously wounded and arrested.