Hamas plans to escalate the current terror campaign against Israel with suicide bombings, sources within the Iran-backed terror organization have told Arab media.
Members of West Bank sleeper cells have been instructed to seek out targets in Israel such as senior government and defense officials, Ynet reported on Thursday.
A cell that had built an explosives lab was discovered and broken up by the Shin Bet earlier this month. The cell included both Palestinians and Israeli citizens. Ynet reported that the cell was discovered when a member asked a Palestinian security official to obtain fake permits.
The Jerusalem Post reported earlier this week that members of Fatah, the party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, were also considering a return to suicide bombings.
In What Will Happen If the Palestinians Really End Security Cooperation?, which was published in the April 2015 issue of The Tower Magazine, Neri Zilber outlined the threat that Hamas posed to the Palestinian Authority.
These shared interests and security hazards entail many things, but none are as important as the threat of a Hamas takeover of the West Bank. “Just as we liberated Gaza…just as we established a victorious army in it,” Hamas founder Mahmoud al-Zahar declared in December, “we will make the same effort in the West Bank as we prepare to extend our presence to all of Palestine,” i.e., to the entirety of pre-1967 Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned of precisely this when he publicly blasted the PA’s recent moves at the United Nations, saying, “Abbas thinks that by taking unilateral steps he threatens us; he doesn’t understand that their result will be Hamas taking over the West Bank.”
After an extensive Hamas terror network in the West Bank was uncovered by Israeli intelligence last August, press reports suggested that nearly one hundred operatives were preparing a “coup” against the PA. It’s telling that Abbas himself heavily endorsed the notion of Hamas nefariousness, reportedly accusing the militant group of plotting to target him directly.
The struggle against Hamas in the West Bank is a model of security coordination between Israel and the PA. For example, PA intelligence provided crucial information to Israel during the manhunt for the Hamas cell that abducted and murdered three Israeli teenagers last summer. PA security forces also arrest suspected militants themselves (and have done so with increasing vigor over the last six months), or stand down when Israeli forces raid Palestinian population centers during their own operations.
It’s not a surprise, then, that Hamas has singled out this policy for particular excoriation. When Abbas called security coordination with Israel “holy” during a conference last June in Saudi Arabia, one Hamas spokesman responded by stating, “Aiding the occupation and coordinating security with it in chasing down the resistance is a crime that is punishable by law.” More recently, after the death of Ziad Abu Ein, a PA minister, during clashes with Israeli forces in December, another Hamas official called continued security coordination a “betrayal of the blood of the [Palestinian] martyrs.”
[Photo: Israel Defense Forces / Flickr ]