Authorities have arrested a Hamas terrorist in connection with a plot to carry out a new attack near Eilat and kidnap another IDF soldier.
The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) last month arrested Mahmoud Abu Adara and a second Hamas operative from the organization military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, in connection with the plan. A gag order on the arrests was lifted Wednesday.
Adara, arrested in late February, is a resident of the southern Gaza border city of Rafiah, military sources said.
Investigators said the two were carrying out reconnaissance around IDF bases near the security fence along the Egyptian border. They gathered intelligence on a number of civilian locations in Israel as well.
The suspect is accused of planning to fire anti-tank missiles at Israeli targets along the border. He is also charged with organizing an attempt to infiltrate a suicide bombing cell into Eilat.
A terror alert has remained in effect for the Eilat area, following intelligence that suggests Gaza terrorists are still actively planning to cross into the Sinai Peninsula, and infiltrate from there into Israel in order to carry out an attack.
Last August, a group of operatives from Gaza carried out a multi-pronged terrorist attack on Highway 12, just north of Eilat along the border with Egypt, leaving eight Israelis dead.
The attack also resulted in the deaths of six Egyptian security officers, who were killed in the crossfire between Israeli soldiers and operatives from the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) terrorist organization.
The incident touched off massive protests in Egypt which led to violent riots, culminating in a savage attack by paid youths who trashed the Israeli Embassy in Cairo, its staff barely escaping with their lives. Diplomatic relations between the two countries were nearly brought to a standstill, and the embassy has remained closed ever since.
It was also the PRC that kidnapped former IDF soldier Gilad Shalit near the Gaza border while he was on active duty in June 2006. Shalit was held hostage in Gaza until a swap deal was reached more than five years later with Hamas. Last October, the Netanyahu government freed 1,027 Palestinian Authority terrorists in a two-stage process, including many murderers of Jews and others, in exchange for Shalit's safe return to his family.