At the Afula stadium, the terrorist marked which garbage cans could be used for explosives
At the Afula stadium, the terrorist marked which garbage cans could be used for explosivesShabak communications

Israel Security Agency (Shabak) and Israel Police have arrested an Arab suspected of planning to carry out a massive terror attack in northern Israel.

The suspect, an Arab-Israeli and a resident of Umm al-Fahm who had joined Hamas' ranks, was arrested a few weeks ago, a statement said. He planned to use an explosive device to carry out the attack.

The suspect has been named as Mahmad Nadir Makhajna, age 20. At the time of his arrest, he was in possession of media which he used to communicate with Hamas operatives in Gaza.

The Shabak investigation revealed that Makhajna joined Hamas' military wing in Gaza several months ago, for the purpose of carrying out a terror attack by means of an explosive device within sovereign Israeli territory. The investigation also showed that Makhajna moved closer to the Muslim Brotherhood's ideology due to his financial and emotional pressures, and later decided that he wanted to carry out "jihad."

It also showed that the suspect gathered information about possible locations for the terror attack, focusing especially on security sites and places with large crowds. He then sent this information to Hamas in Gaza.

A map of the area around Afula stadium, with markings showing nearby bus stops. Credit: IDF spokesperson

In the end, following instructions he received from Hamas, Makhajna decided to carry out the terror attack on a route 921 bus near Hadera, and even took steps towards this end prior to his arrest.

Two weeks ago, an indictment was filed against Makhajna, charging him with serious security crimes.

In January, security forces arrested two Arab-Israelis, residents of the Arab village of Mu'awiya who were enlisted by Hamas in Gaza to carry out a terror attack in Israel, using an explosive device. The investigation showed that both of these individuals were likely operatives of the same infrastructure.

Map of Hadera showing the Central Bus Station and an additional bus stop Credit: Shabak

A Shabak source said, "The investigation of this case exposes once again the efforts by Hamas to promote terror activities within Israeli territory, while attempting to distance themselves from involvement in the public sphere, while at the same time presenting a false front, pretending to desire to advance the process of normalizing the Strip. All of this is done while cynically using the Israeli civilian population and enlisting it for the purpose of terror activities."

Shabak also said that the responsibility for such actions rests on the shoulders of Hamas in Gaza, and on the head of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar.

"Shabak, together with Israel Police, will continue to work to foil terror activities on the part of the terror organizations, and to use every means available to them in order to protect the security of the State of Israel and its citizens, and to bring to justice all of those involved," Shabak said.