Security services announced on Thursday that they had thwarted an Islamic Jihad plot to attack a wedding hall in the South and to kidnap and kill a soldier for the purposes of bargaining with Israel.
Mahmoud Yousef Hassin Abu Taha, a resident of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, was arrested last month while entering Israel through the Erez crossing, ostensibly for purposes of commerce.
Abu Taha was enlisted by Wael Sufian Abu Taha, a senior Islamic Jihad official in Gaza, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said. He instructed Mahmoud to form a cell in order to carry out a terrorist attack in the South and to kidnap a soldier to be used in a prisoner swap, the agency said.
The three men whom Mahmoud enlisted to help him with the attacks were also arrested.
One of the suspects, Shafik Hamed Ahmed Abu Taha, 55, was illegally residing in Israel and was an employee of the wedding hall that the cell planned to attack. A second suspect, Ahmed Tisir Abdulrahman Abu Taha, 39, from Gaza, was also illegally residing in Israel. A third suspect, a 40-year-old from Deir el-Balah in central Gaza, was living in southern Israel legally after having gained residency through marriage by way of the “family reunification” law.
The suspects had carried out reconnaissance at the wedding hall, devising a plan they hoped would kill as many people as possible, the Shin Bet said.
At the same time, Mahmoud began planning the kidnapping, receiving thousands of shekels from Wael Abu Taha in order to rent an apartment in Israel to which he planned to lure a soldier.
According to the Shin Bet, Mahmoud planned to kill the soldier, bury him and send his belongings back to Gaza to use as bargaining chips with Israel.
“This grave affair yet again exhibits the efforts of terrorist elements in Gaza to carry out murderous terrorist attacks in Israel,” the agency said.
The affair also shows the way in which terrorists take advantage of entry permits to Israel, given for humanitarian porpoises to improve the economy of Gaza, the Shin Bet said.
In addition, the plot shows the danger posed by Palestinians illegally residing in Israel, the agency warned.
In May, Islamic Jihad in Gaza released a propaganda video threatening IDF soldiers in response to the recent “Israeli escalation” in the Strip.
The minute-and-a-half video, titled, “We Will Show You a Shadow of Fear,” presents four fighters in Islamic Jihad’s Quds Brigades conducting observation of IDF jeep stationed behind Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip and preparing to fired Sager rockets at the vehicle.
Although the fighters did not attack the jeep, the video ends with a message translated to Hebrew: “We will show you a shadow of fear.”