Photo Credit: Wisam Hashlamoun / Flash 90
Palestinian Authority and Hamas flags in the demolished home of a terrorist, March 2016

Israel’s top security agency announced Sunday the capture of several Hamas terrorist cells in Judea and Samaria.

Agents from the Israel Security Agency (ISA / Shin Bet) uncovered several Hamas cells in Judea and Samaria in joint operations with the IDF and the Israel Police have in recent weeks.

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In February, the ISA and the IDF arrested several students from Bir Zeit University who were active in a Haas-affiliated Islamist cell pursuant to Hamas’s efforts to establish itself on the ground. To this end, they – inter alia – received funds that originated with a terrorist organization. An ISA investigation revealed significant activity at – and beyond – Bir Zeit University, as well as activity by members of a Hamas cell who carried out extensive terrorist activities in the Har Adar-Maaleh Hahamisha area.

An ISA investigation revealed that the members of the cell – residents of Bidu, in the Binyamin area – planted IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and threw firebombs (Molotov cocktails) at IDF units in the area, and were involved in shooting at Har Adar in 2015. It was also revealed that members of the cell planned to commit additional shooting attacks.

In Samaria, a joint ISA-IDF operation led to the arrest of Hamas militant Muhammad Azi, 20, from Jamain. An ISA investigation revealed that he was planning to carry out an attack against Israeli targets in cooperation with Nur Aldin Ghait, 22, from Hebron who was also arrested. It was learned that the two planned to carry out a shooting attack against civilian and IDF vehicles on main roads in the area.

Pursuant to the foregoing the two carried out surveillance on the roads and obtained bails to spread on the roads, causing vehicles to slow down and become more vulnerable to attack. It is suspected that Azi acquired a weapon with which to carry out an attack. The weapon in question was seized during the investigation.

It was also learned that the two produced IEDs for throwing at Israeli targets and carried out several tests prior to their arrest. They also planned to plant gas balloons at the entrance to a village in order to detonate them against in IDF vehicle.

The suspects were recently indicted in the military courts.

The above is in the context of ongoing counter-terrorist operations in Judea and Samaria.

“The ISA, IDF and Israel Police will continue their preventive operations against the various terrorist organizations,” the ISA said in its statement.

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