Hamas in Gaza has increased efforts to set up terrorist cells in the West Bank,
and ordered new recruits to create and fire rockets at Israel from the West
Bank, to kidnap and kill a soldier, and prepare suicide bombings, the Shin Bet
(Israel Security Agency) said Wednesday.
On the surface, the fourmonth
truce between Israel and Hamas appears to be holding well since the cessation of
last year’s eight day conflict, but behind the scenes, senior Hamas officials in
Gaza are increasing their efforts to carry out deadly attacks on Israelis, the
Shin Bet added.
The intelligence came partly from the questioning of
security suspects who have been arrested days before planning to act, the
domestic security agency said.
It named Hamas interior minister in Gaza,
Fathi Hammad, as a figure behind many of the efforts to carry out atrocities.
Hammad has often called out for the continuation of terror attacks in
“To that end, Hammad is activating his associates, Hamas members,
who work on his behalf, and through the ‘Defenders of Al Aqsa’ group, which was
set up by him,” the Shin Bet added.
In recent days, Hamas members from
the West Bank revealed details on new recruits who were in touch with Hammad’s
The terror cell was made up of residents of the villages of
Ras Karkar and Siluad, in the Binyamin region of the West Bank.
recruited to plant an explosive, kidnap a soldier or settler, and manufacture
and launch rockets.
The new recruits maintained communications with their
handlers in Gaza through emails and cell phones. They were trained in how to
create weapons, and recruit additional members to their cells.
terrorists “received concrete instructions to kidnap a soldier, take his ID and
cell phone for negotiations, and then kill and bury him at a hideout,” the
Prior to their arrest, the terrorists sent a message to Gaza
saying they were ready to act within days. The arrest prevented impending terror
attacks, the Shin Bet added.
“The activities of Hammad – one of the
senior leaders of Hamas in Gaza, and an interior minister who is obligated to
maintain quiet – is a gross violation of the ceasefire agreement. This also
illustrates the extent of the involvement by senior Hamas members in setting up
terror attacks against targets in the West Bank and Israel, despite their
commitments to Egypt to uphold a truce,” the Shin Bet said.
2008, months before the launch of Operation Cast Lead, with thousands of
Palestinian rockets raining down on Israel, Hammad told Hamas’s al-Aqsa TV: “For
the Palestinian people, death has become an industry, at which women excel, and
so do all the people living on this land. The elderly excel at this, and so do
the mujahideen (holy fighters) and the children. This is why they have formed
human shields of the women, the children, the elderly, and the mujahideen, in
order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine. It is as if they were saying to
the Zionist enemy: ‘We desire death like you desire life.’