The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) lifted a gag order on Tuesday and revealed it arrested two Hamas and Islamic Jihad cells in the Hevron area before they could carry out plans to murder an Israeli and use the body as a bargaining chip to gain the release of jailed terrorists.
The exposure of terrorist cells has grown at an alarming rate. Less than two days before the gag order was lifted, the IDF raided the home of a wanted terrorist near Shechem and confiscated hundreds of rounds of ammunition, IDF uniforms and protective vests, a gun and knives.
The Hamas and Islamic Jihad cells operated in the village of Bani Naim, located five miles southeast of Hevron and near Highway 60 that runs from Kiryat Arab-Hevron to the southern Hevron Hills and Arad.
The Hamas cell had targeted a nearby Jewish farm, where it planned to murder a Jew and hide the body until it could win the release of Palestinian Authority terrorists and security prisoners.
Security personnel confiscated instructions for building explosive devices, one of which already had been completed.
The Palestinian Authority has remained silent after every exposure of a terrorist cell. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas previously has alternately denounced terror while justifying “resistance.”
The Palestinian Authority is committed to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure, but the IDF usually carries out arrest operations.
The Jewish Press asked the IDF if the PA was involved in the recent counterterrorist actions.
“There is ongoing coordination with the Palestinian security forces. We cannot discuss specifics,” a spokeswoman answered.
Behind the vague statement, there are several possibilities.
— the PA is afraid that terrorists will turn their guns on them if it is known that the Arab security forces are cooperating with Israel;
— the Palestinian Authority security forces are restricting their actions to hauling in criminals and giving out traffic tickets; or
— Abbas is letting his lack of condemnation of the terrorist plots as a sign of encouragement for “martyrdom,” in tandem with PA media incitement for attacks on Israelis.
Take your pick.