The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) said on Thursday that it had uncovered and apprehended a Hamas terror squad in Hevron, AFP reports.
The Shin Bet indicated that, in cooperation with the IDF, it had arrested some 20 members of Hamas' armed wing in Hevron.
The Shin Bet and army arrested "approximately 20 terrorists affiliated with Hamas who were planning a kidnapping attack in order to bargain for the release of prisoners," said a statement quoted by AFP.
The statement said they were arrested over the past few months.
“A variety of ammunition was discovered, including more than 10 different kinds of weapons," the statement said.
According to the Shin Bet, the group "represented a Hamas attempt to establish a local Hamas headquarters in Hevron."
The statement added, "The terrorists were indicted with the charge of weapon possession, contacting a hostile organization and conspiracy to kidnap an IDF soldier."
In recent months and weeks, Palestinian Authority Arabs have rioted and attempted to carry out terror attacks, not just in Hevron but throughout Judea and Samaria as well.
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's security forces have failed to stop the attempted attacks as they had done in the past. In fact, in one incident armed terrorists were allowed to publicly march and fire into the air in the Balata area of Shechem.
The incidents have led some to warn that a third Arab intifada (uprising) is in the works.
Security sources told AFP that Israel plans to step up arrests of suspected terrorists in the PA-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria to prevent the civil unrest from turning into an uprising.
In the past, the PA has arrested Hamas terrorists to prevent them from operating in Judea and Samaria, but it recently announced it will release Hamas-affiliated detainees as a goodwill gesture to boost reconciliation efforts between the Gaza terror group and the rival Fatah.
In turn, Hamas allowed the Gaza branch of Fatah party to mark its anniversary in the region, for the first time since it violently took over Gaza in 2007.