The Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, announced the arrests of three members of a Hamas terror cell in the West Bank, The Times of Israel reported Wednesday.
The three suspects were arrested over the summer and charged last month. Two of the suspects — Issa Shalalda and Omar Ma’soud — were members of the Islamist bloc at Birzeit University, which is associated with Hamas. The cell, established in 2015, is known for recruiting engineering students at the university outside Ramallah and, as part of the recruitment process, the recruits received military training.
The third member of the cell, Hazem Hamayel, is from the northern West Bank, and was recruited by a Hamas official using a fake identity on Facebook to attempt a terror attack.
“The activity of the terror infrastructure in Gaza, along with additional Hamas activity from the Gaza Strip, is an inseparable part of Hamas’s attempts to undermine stability in the West Bank, Israel and the Gaza Strip,” the Shin Bet said in a statement about the arrests.
Violent Hamas-led riots are continuing along Israel’s border with Gaza. Today, the IDF reported that “two Gazans, one of whom was armed with a knife, broke through the border fence from Gaza into Israel.” The two were captured and are being interrogated.
Over the past six months, rioters have launched incendiary balloons and other airborne objects over the border fence burning thousands of acres of land, thrown rocks and firebombs at Israeli troops, and used the riots as cover to attempt infiltrations of the border with Israel.
Earlier this week, staff members of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN agency exclusively devoted to the Palestinians, were forced to flee Gaza due to death threats. UNRWA faulted Hamas for its “lack of effective security.”
Last month, Gaza-based Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar acknowledged that the terror group’s impetus for orchestrating the violent riots was to divert attention from internal Palestinian conflicts.
Israel, in recent months, has announced the breakup of other Hamas terror cells in the West Bank. In June, the Shin Bet announced that a major terrorist cell consisting of more than 20 suspects, which had been planning attacks in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, had been broken up two months earlier. The breakup of another ring in the city of Hebron was announced at the end of August.
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