The Israel Security Agency, or Shin Bet, uncovered an extensive Hamas infrastructure directed by senior Hamas officials abroad which operated in the West Bank and in Jerusalem. Over 50 members of the Hamas cell who were in the advanced stages of planning major terror attacks in the West Bank and throughout Israel have been arrested in recent weeks, the Shin Bet said in a statement issued on Monday.
Money, munitions, weapons and equipment for preparing improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were seized during the arrests, including sufficient explosive material to make three to four explosive belts. The intelligence and arrests of the Hamas cell members was in cooperation with the Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet.
The activity was financed by senior Hamas officials led by Saleh Arouri, Hamas deputy chairman and head of its West Bank District, which is located abroad and works to advance Hamas operations in the West Bank and Jerusalem. The terrorist infrastructure recruited fighters from various areas in the West Bank, including Ramallah, Hebron and Jenin.
Arouri put hundreds of thousands of shekels into the cell’s activities and offered a prize of $1 million if the cell successfully carried out a kidnapping.
“Hamas operatives from abroad and Gaza continue their incessant efforts to recruit residents from Judea and Samaria for terrorist activities,” the Shin Bet said in the statement, using the biblical names for the West Bank. “The ISA, together with the IDF and the Israel Police, will continue to take resolute action against Hamas recruitment and the organization’s efforts to strengthen itself in Judea and Samaria, in order to reach all those involved in these efforts and thwart them in advance.”
The arrests were announced the day after a terror attack by a Hamas member in the Old City of Jerusalem left one Israeli dead and three injured.