The Shin Bet, working in conjunction with the IDF, uncovered a Hamas cell in Shechem which had plotted a series of terrorist attacks across the country, it was revealed Thursday.
The cell was preparing to carry out a series of suicide bombings in major Israeli cities and shooting attacks in Judea and Samaria. A cache of munitions and explosives was seized when the 20-member cell was taken into custody.
Most of the cell members were recidivists who had been released from Israeli prison after having been previously arrested for participation in terrorist activities and attacks against Israeli citizens.
During the months from May until August, 2016, the cell produced 7 kg (about 15 lb) of explosive material in an explosives lab in Shechem, which was intended to be used for suicide bombings in Jerusalem, Haifa, and at bus and train stops.
The terrorists also purchased M-16 assault rifles to carry out shooting attacks against Israeli civilians.
Four bombers were recruited to carry out the suicide bombings across Israel.
The cell received logistical support from a wide network of collaborators who helped it procure and hide the weapons and explosives, as well as providing funding for the terrorist activities.
A senior Shin Bet official said: "The Shin Bet investigation revealed a Hamas cell which was hierarchically organized, and that if not foiled would have perpetrated a serious terrorist attack. Thanks to the intelligence gathering and operational activity of the Shin Bet and the IDF, which was on high alert, this cell - which was going to carry out deadly suicide bombings - was stopped beforehand."
"This investigation reveals, once again, the extent to which Hamas is investing in building infrastructure in Judea and Samaria in order to carry out terrorist attacks against Israel." the official said.