arrest of terrorists (archive)
arrest of terrorists (archive)Ehud Amitan/TPS

A Hamas terrorist who was released in the deal to secure the release of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit was the Hamas contact for for a cell which was arrested for plotting several major terrorist attacks in recent weeks.

The investigation into the cell, which contained four members who plotted to carry out numerous shooting attacks throughout Judea and Samaria, has been completed, it was permitted to publish Wednesday.

The Shabak's interrogation of the terrorists revealed that they were in contact with Bilal Basharat - a Hamas terrorist who was released from prison as part of the Shalit deal, deported to the Gaza Strip, and operates as part of the Judea and Samaria Headquarters - a Hamas body located in the Gaza Strip and dedicated to promoting terrorist activity in Judea and Samaria. The Hamas operative is the brother-in-law of one of the detainees.

The investigation also revealed that the Hamas official directed the terrorists to purchase weapons and gather information from the area in order to carry out shooting attacks in the name of Hamas against civilian targets and IDF soldiers.

In addition to the arrest of the terrorists, weapons they had purchased and terrorist funds transferred to the cell on behalf of the headquarters of Hamas were also seized.

The Shabak said that in recent years, many arms of the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip have been identified, which exploit Palestinian Arab residents of Judea and Samaria to promote terrorist activities, and to transfer money, weapons and ammunition to terrorists in Judea and Samaria for the purpose of carrying out attacks on Israeli targets.