The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) uncovered a terrorist cell working for Hamas’s military wing in the West Bank, it revealed yesterday.
According to the Shin Bet, members of Hamas’s military wing recruited Palestinians in the West Bank, taught them to build bombs and instructed them to find crowded places in Israel to target —such as large buildings, shopping centres, restaurants, hotels, trains and buses.
The Shin Bet released the information that was revealed under questioning by Awis Rajoub, a 25-year-old from Dura, near Hebron, who was arrested on 23 September. “His arrest was made possible after he co-opted several of his friends and relatives into his terrorist activity and used them to purchase materials for use in producing IEDs,” the Shin Bet said.
Rajoub recruited two friends “to prepare the explosive material for the IED, while he himself worked on preparing the triggering mechanism as per instructions from the infrastructure in the Gaza Strip”. The Shin Bet emphasised that the IEDs were composed of advanced explosives that have yet to be used in the West Bank.
Hamas also exploited the entry of sick Gazans to Israeli hospitals for life-saving medical treatment. Naama Mikdad, aged 53 and a mother of nine children, accompanied her sister Samira Smot, a resident of Khan Yunis and who suffers from cancer, into Israel on 9 August in order to receive medical treatment. They passed on a phone and “gave Awis trousers into which a cloth strip had been sewn on which instructions for using his phone had been written,” the Shin Bet said.
Writing in Haaretz, Amos Harel says: “The new angle is that the suspect said he was being controlled directly by Hamas’ military wing in Gaza. For many years now, Hamas in Gaza had been leaving the conduct of terror attacks in the West Bank to Hamas headquarters abroad, headed by Saleh al–Arouri, who lives in Lebanon and Turkey, and to the group of former West Bankers who were freed in the deal for Gilad Shalit and were expelled from the West Bank when they were released.”