A massive terror cell organized by the Hamas terrorist organization planned a series of suicide bombings and other terror attacks against Israeli civilians and security forces, the Shin Bet internal security agency revealed on Sunday.
According to the report Sunday, the terror cell began operation in October of last year, and included roughly two dozen terrorists, nearly all of them members of the Gaza-based Hamas terror organization. Many of the members of the terror cell were known for past involvement in terrorist operations, including the manufacture of explosive devices.
The cell was centered in the Palestinian Authority-controlled city of Shechem (Nablus) in central Samaria and was led by 35-year-old Mutassem Nuhammad Salem and 33-year-old Fares Kamil Zavidi. Both men are residents of Shechem (Nablus) and long-time members of Hamas.
Israeli security forces discovered the terror cell and arrested its members at the end of April.
The suspects were transferred to the Shin Bet for interrogation.
During questioning, the terrorists revealed that the cell had planned a series of major terror attacks across Israel. Among the attacks planned by the cell were suicide bombings in Jerusalem, bombings in Tel Aviv, and bombing and shooting attacks across Samaria, including inside the town of Itamar.
Some of the attacks were planned for the near future, investigators say, and were averted only by the quick arrest of the cell’s members.
Security forces seized a number of explosive devices, including some containing as much as 33 pounds of high-yield explosive material, as well as firearms and material for producing improvised explosive devices.
"This case again shows the desire and efforts that Hamas is investing in building terrorist infrastructures in Judea and Samaria in order to carry out severe attacks in Israel,” one Shin Bet senior official said.
“This case also indicates Hamas' desire to carry out attacks against Israeli targets while undermining the current relative quiet. Severe attacks and loss of life have been prevented. We, along with our partners in the IDF and Israel Police, will continue to take determined action to thwart Hamas's murderous intentions. Infrastructure members will be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law.