Israeli security forces have arrested a five-member Hamas terrorist cell in the West Bank the Shin Bet revealed Monday, as the agency warned that the Gaza-based terrorist group was increasingly trying to carry out attacks in the West Bank and Israel.
“Recently, there’s been a marked increase in motivation by the Hamas high command in the Gaza Strip to encourage terror attacks by their operatives in the West Bank,” a Shin Bet official said in a statement.
The Jerusalem Post reported that the operation took place in November and involved the arrest of Abdallah Arar, a Hamas activist who was involved in the 2005 abduction and murder of Jerusalem resident Sasson Nuriel.
According to Shin Bet, Abdallah Arar instructed Alaa Salim, a resident of the Palestinian West Bank town of Jaba, to set up the cell and to purchase a M16 rifle for the group to carry out an attack as soon as possible.
Salim also contacted other residents of Jaba, Rayan and Shihadah Tua’m, to help him purchase the gun and carry out the assault. Shihadah Tua’m, in turn, “reached out to Mahmoud Abu Arqoub, a young Hamas operative, a resident of A-Ram (near Jerusalem), and brought him into the cell,” the Shin Bet said.
Since the beginning of the latest wave of violence that hit Israel and the West Bank, numerous Hamas attacks have been stopped by the intelligence agencies. “The security forces will continue to act decisively to thwart Hamas’s efforts to carry out attacks in Israel, and make it clear that Hamas in the Gaza Strip will be responsible for any attack that they direct,” Shin Bet stated.
Nadav Argaman, the head of Shin Bet, said in December that the security service had thwarted more than 400 terrorist attacks in 2017, including 13 planned suicide attacks, eight kidnappings and 1,100 potential lone-wolf attacks.
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