Hamas Cell Sought '2nd Shalit'

IDF, ISA caught 2 Hamas terrorists who infiltrated from Gaza with weapons and intended to abduct a soldier – as Shalit negotiations were at peak.

Gil Ronen , | updated: 18:19

IDF in operation
IDF in operation
IDF website

Israeli security forces caught a Hamas terror cell as its members crossed over from Gaza into Israel in December, the military censor has now permitted to report. The two-man squad was sent to abduct an Israeli soldier even as negotiations for Gilad Shalit were at their peak, last December.

The terrorists were caught as a result of a cooperative effort by the Israel Security Agency (ISA – also referred to as Shin Bet) and the IDF. They intended to use explosive charges in terror attacks, and to abduct a soldier, then murder him and negotiate his return.

The terrorists were caught as they tried to bring the explosive charges into Israel, along with a handgun, a silencer and counterfeit money. The attempt was carried out at the same time that Hamas was informing a German intermediary of its demands in exchange for the return of Gilad Shalit, and as the Israeli inner cabinet held meetings to finalize the Israeli offer. The mainstream media in Israel were carrying out a frenzied campaign in favor of meeting Hamas's demands for the release of Shalit, “at any price.”

It now turns out that at the very same time, in Gaza, the 'military arm' of Hamas under Raed Saad, commander of Hamas forces in Gaza City, was preparing to murder Jews and abduct another second soldier.

Abu Atik delivered Zuar'ah
On December 12, Salman Abu Atik, 43, a senior Hamas terrorist and smuggler from Gaza, was arrested as he crossed into Israel from the Egyptian border. $15,000 in counterfeit notes were found during the arrest. Four other infiltrators – who were not part of the terror squad – were also arrested. Two of them were wounded as they tried to escape.

One day later, IDF forces combing the area found a silencer that Abu Atik had tried to smuggle into Israel. As his interrogation progressed, Abu Atik disclosed the location of  a handgun that he was trying to smuggle in along with the silencer. He confessed that he had been sent to carry out a terror murder and to abduct a soldier.

He added that a second Hamas terrorist, Ibrahim Zuar'ah – aged 44 from Beit Lahiya, Gaza – would soon be infiltrating Israel with two explosive charges, in order to assist him. Based on the information Abu Atik disclosed to ISA interrogators, Zuar'ah was arrested on December 31. He was carrying two explosive charges weighing six to seven kg each, and a detonation system.   

Zuar'ah admitted that he entered Israel in order to detonate the charges in places that were crowded with civilians. He was to carry out the attack within ten days of entering Israel. He also admitted that he was to assist Abu Atik in abducting and murdering a soldier.