(photo credit: REUTERS/Abed Omar Qusini )
Security personnel arrested a Hamas terror cell in the West Bank that plotted to
manufacture and fire rockets, and kidnap and kill a soldier, the Shin Bet
(Israel Security Agency) said on Wednesday.
The arrests, carried out by
the Shin Bet and the IDF, took place in January and February, and disrupted
plans by the cell to plant explosives, the Shin Bet said.
It named a
central suspect as Ahmed Fahida, a 26-year-old attorney from Ras Karkar, 11 km.
northwest of Ramallah, as the head of the cell, and a contact man for Hamas in
the Gaza Strip. Several others are also under arrest.
questioning, it emerged that Fahida was recruited to Izzadin Kassam [Hamas’s
armed wing] by Ahmed Uda, a Hamas member in Gaza,” the Shin Bet
Fahida was ordered to kidnap a soldier, steal his ID and cellphone
to be used for negotiations with Israel, and then kill and bury his
Fahida and an accomplice began preparing to carry out their
attacks, gathering weapons and materials to build rockets, according to the
Contact between Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank recruits
occurred via email and phone, and instructions were passed on how to create
explosives and recruit additional members. The suspects also considered
obtaining an encryption program to store their computer files, security forces
Days before the arrests, Fahida informed his handlers in Gaza that
the cell members were ready to begin the attacks.
The suspects were
charged in the Judea Military Court in March.
The arrests are part of an
ongoing effort by security forces to thwart Hamas terrorism in the West Bank
that is being directed from the Gaza Strip.
In March, the Shin Bet
announced the arrest of another Hamas cell in the West Bank that had been
ordered to build and fire rockets at Israel, kidnap and murder a soldier, and
carry out suicide bombings.
The cell had been set up by Gaza’s interior
minister, Fathi Hammad, the Shin Bet said.