(photo credit: Shin Bet [file])
The Shin Bet (Israel's security service) released for publication Thursday that two Hamas operatives from the Jabalya refugee camp were arrested in April after infiltrating from the Sinai Peninsula. They confessed to planning to establish a terror cell in the West Bank and in Israel, with the goal of kidnapping soldiers and carrying out terror attacks.
The two, Razek Ahmed Mahmad Sha'aban and Gama Ibrahim Issa Azam were caught near Mount Harif in possession of two guns, two grenades and some $2,300.
They said that they received instuctions from senior Hamas operatives in the Gaza Strip, who told them that they were to be absorbed into the West Bank.
They were apprehended three weeks after another Hamas operative was arrested in Tulkarm on April 29, after being sent to the West Bank from Gaza. He was also planning to begin laying the infrastructure for a new terror cell.
Sha'aban was released in 2002 from an Israeli jail after serving a five year sentence for Hamas membership and involvement in planning terror attacks and kidnappings.
During his interrogation he told the Shin Bet that Azam asked for Sha'aban's assistance with his Hamas-sponsered terrorist activities.
After agreeing to the request, head of Hamas in Jabalya Imam Mansur ordered Sha'aban to go to Ramallah with other Gaza-based Hamas operatives to establish a terror cell with the ultimate goal of kidnapping soldiers and carrying out attacks.
Mansur told Sha'aban that to reach the Gaza Strip he needed to infiltrate through the Sinai Peninsula and travel to Beersheba, driven by Palestinians illegally residing in the country.
In his interrogation, Azam revealed that the planned West Bank terror cell operated under the direction of the official Hamas leadership. He said that he met with the head of the Hamas military wing in the northern Gaza strip, and another top Hamas operative.
"The arrest of these operatives is another example of Hamas's incessant involvement in terrorism," said security officials.