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Israel Breaks Up Hamas Terror Cell, Uncovers Explosives Lab Near Jerusalem

The Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, announced that it broke up a large Hamas terror cell that operated an explosives laboratory and planned to carry out suicide bombings, The Times of Israel reported Wednesday.

The majority of the cell’s members were students at Al-Quds University in Abu Dis, near Jerusalem, and two of them were Israeli citizens. Their makeshift laboratory, also in Abu Dis, contained stores of chemicals necessary for making explosives, including the kind most often used in suicide vests.

According to the Shin Bet, the cell was controlled by Hamas operatives in the Gaza Strip. “This case reveals and highlights again the involvement of the military arm of Hamas from the Gaza Strip, which operates continuously with the intent of carrying out mass-casualty attacks within Israel and the West Bank,” the agency said.

The leader of the cell was Ahmad Jamal Mousa Azzam, who was recruited by Hamas and trained by the Iran-backed terror organization to assemble explosive belts, vests, and devices.

Azzam, a student at Al-Quds University, enlisted some of his peers to assist the operation. One, Jerusalem resident Hazem Ziad Amran Sandouqa, helped purchase chemicals to create the explosives and provided intelligence on possible targets. The other, Fahdi Daoud Muhammad Abu Qaian, a Bedouin from the Negev, confessed that he had agreed to carry out a suicide attack.

In addition to its ties to Iran, Hamas has been increasing operational cooperation with ISIS. Shadi al-Menei, the commander of ISIS in the Sinai, recently met with Hamas leaders in Gaza to discuss ways that the terrorist groups can coordinate attacks.

[Photo: Israel Defense Forces / YouTube ]