GSS Cracks Hamas Network
Israel's General Security Services (GSS) cleared for publication it had, with the assistance of the IDF and Israel Police, broken up numerous Hamas terror-cells in Judea and Samaria in recent months.
All of the cells, except the one responsible for the March 23, 2011 Jerusalem bus bombing that killed 1 and wounded 47, were reported to have been in various stages of operational readiness and were stopped before they could carry out their attacks - including a suicide bombing in Jerusalem slated for 21 August 2011.
The investigation and raids carried out from May to August 2011 reportedly resulted in the capture of at least 13 Hamas terrorists. Israel Security Agency (ISA) agents said the arrests uncovered a concerted effort by Hamas to rebuild the organization's military infrastructure in Judea and Samaria - and in turn to carry out attacks against Israeli targets.
This cells reportedly enjoyed broad support from the Hamas organization, including:
Overseas: Hamas headquarters abroad (primarily in Syria, Saudi Arabia and Turkey) provided a command eschelon, and provided funding and training.
Prison: Hamas activists targeted friends and acquaintances in Israeli prisons to carry out attacks upon their release.
Gaza: Hamas in Gaza provided local management, logistical support, and weapons for operations in Judea and Samaria.
From the middle of 2010 the General Security Services uncovered the Hamas military infrastructure operating out of Ketziot prison, where more than 20 prisoners from Judea and Samaria, mostly nearing the end of their sentences, were recruited to conduct terrorist operations upon their release - with emphasis on kidnapping soldiers to use for negotiating leverage.
The GSS said it was able to extend its investigation beyond prison walls, and in August 2011 uncovered the Hamas network in Hevron, which was set to make numerous kidnapping attempts targeting IDF personnel, and was slated to carry out a suicide bombing on 21 August 2011 in Pisgat Zeev in Jerusalem.
The Hevron network discovered when a Hamas messenger from Damascus was intercepted, also reportedly planned to carry out attacks in the Gush Etzion near Jerusalem. Large stores of weapons and explosives were also seized in the GSS raids.
A GSS spokesman said the investigation is ongoing and preventative measures are being taken based on intelligence gathered from the broken terror network.