Israeli security forces busted a major Hamas terror cell aimed specifically at carrying out terror attacks in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, Palestinian Arab sources said Friday.
The terror cell is closely related to the crackdown by the Israel Security Agency (ISA or Shin Bet) and police over the summer, which saw 93 Hamas terrorists arrested for an alleged coup being planned against the Palestinian Authority (PA), sources told Walla! News.
The sources added that the targets were specifically against "settlers" - referring to Jewish civilians in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem - and IDF soldiers. Several terror attacks in the past couple of weeks have been prevented as part of the ISA bust.
The cell included several Hamas terrorists already sitting in Israeli prisons on terror charges, they said, similar to other terror cells busted over the past year.
The man behind the plot is Saleh al-Arouri, Hamas's most senior operative in Turkey, where since 2010 he has set up the headquarters for Hamas's "military wing," the Al-Qassam Brigades, while in exile - working alongside other Hamas terrorists, including several released as part of the 2011 Gilad Shalit deal.
Al-Arouri's role in plotting terrorist atrocities hit headlines during the summer, when it was revealed that he had personally ordered the kidnap and murder of three Israeli teenagers. The abduction and murder of Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Sha'ar and Eyal Yifrah was a major factor in triggering the current escalation in violence.
The sources said that the terror network has included Hamas sympathizers from both Turkey and Qatar, which has enabled Hamas not only to enact terror against Israelis, but also against the PA.
Qatar is home to Hamas's political chief, Khaled Mashaal, and the oil-rich gulf state is a long-time backer of Hamas.
Palestinian Arab sources leaked news of the foiled plot less than 12 hours after Israeli security forces announced they had foiled a Hamas attempt to assassinate Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) using rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs).
On Sunday, Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Zahar declared that the group was intending to widen its terror scope throughout Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and that it intends to continue to lead the Palestinian Arab camp which advocates for armed struggle until Israel is destroyed.