As new details are revealed in the investigation of the Islamic State (ISIS) terror cell in Hevron, security officials estimate that hundreds of Hamas terrorists are leaving the "moderate" terrorist group in favor of ISIS to wage war on Israel - and the Palestinian Authority (PA).
The leader of the Hevron ISIS cell, Ahmed Wadah Salah Shehada (22), admitted under Israel Security Agency (ISA, or Shin Bet) investigation that he switched from Hamas to ISIS in recent years because it was too "moderate" for him, in that Hamas didn't compel Sharia Islamic law, reports Channel 2.
Reportedly the security system assesses that hundreds of other terrorists have made the move to ISIS like Shehada, and are in contact with the terrorist organization through online social media.
"This cell was just the tip of the iceberg," a security source was quoted as saying. "There are terrorists who are tired of Hamas because it is portrayed as moderate and not aggressive and extremist enough against Israel."
He continued "there they see ISIS as an organization that implements the Islamic laws - Sharia. Hamas is under great pressure from this phenomenon which is slowly eating into its power. ISIS is entering into this vacuum."
Indeed, ISIS already reportedly has a foothold in Gaza where it took an active part in last summer's terror war against Israel, and where it claimed a bombing attack on the French Cultural Center last October.
Already as of last October 30 Arab citizens of Israel had reportedly joined ISIS.
ISA has cyber units working around the clock to locate the new ISIS cells online and take them out before they take lethal action against Israeli targets. However, some would argue Israel isn't taking stringent enough counter-measures; an Arab citizen of Israel was given a temporary permit to return to Israel on Wednesday after leaving to join ISIS in Syria.
Recruiting for ISIS in Israel - on Facebook
New details of how ISIS's hold in Israel is being expanded were revealed in the ISA investigation of the terror cell in Hevron that was nabbed last November, details which were recently published.
In investigation, the cell leader Shehada admitted "it started around a year ago. I contacted Al-Nusra Front and ISIS activists through their Facebook pages."
"My intention was to join them in the fighting in Syria, against the (Bashar) Assad regime. After several talks that I had with my friends in Hevron, I decided not to fly there, and (instead) establish an ISIS cell in Hevron," said Shehada.
"Our goal was to establish a cell that would conduct attacks against the IDF and the Palestinian Authority," said Shehada, noting that Israel wasn't the only target. "We understood that Hamas isn't doing the job. We downloaded from the ISIS site posters and pictures and distributed them to residents."
That recruitment also included indoctrination and propaganda through Facebook, he admitted, while noting his cell's goal was to abduct and murder an IDF soldier during the Muslim month of Ramadan.
"The plan was to take (a soldier's) rifle, to hide his body in a water hole and to take his uniform to conduct a shooting attack against soldiers," said Shehada.
He revealed that one night as the three-man cell conducted surveillance runs around Hevron armed with a rope to tie up a soldier, "we saw a soldier who said 'good night' to us, but we went home without abducting him."
Speaking about the switch to Hamas, another cell member said "we believe that ISIS is better than Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, who don't do anything for the residents."
"We held a few meetings in Hevron, with the goal being to acquire rifles and pipe bombs that we could use against soldiers and Palestinian police stations in Bab el-Alzawiya," he said. "We looked at all kinds of websites and learned how to produce pipe bombs."