Hamas cell arrested by Israeli security forces.
(photo credit: SHIN BET)
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) announced on Thursday that security forces have foiled a Hamas plan to carry out terrorist attacks and kidnappings in order to negotiate a prisoner swap.
Operatives from several Hamas cells from Tzurif and Hebron in the West Bank were arrested in a joint operation by the IDF, police and the Shin Bet in October after it was discovered that they were planning to carry out terrorist attacks, including shooting and kidnapping Israelis, the agency said.
The cell members are said to have observed the movement of IDF soldiers stationed near Tzurif with the intent of kidnapping one in order to bargain for the release of Palestinian prisoners.
Hamas cell arrested by Israeli security forces
The seven-man cell was focused on 58-year-old Ibrahim Abdallah Ghnimat, who is serving a life sentence in prison for his role in a deadly terrorist attack in Tel Aviv 20 years ago as well as in the abduction and murder of IDF soldier Sharon Adri in 1996. According to the Shin Bet, the cell, which also included three of Ranimat’s sons, Fadi Ibrahim Ranimat, Muhammad Ranimat and Shadi Ibrahim Ranimat (who headed the cell), was plotting to free Ranimat.
Security forces are also said to have arrested Rami Rajoub in Dura, near Hebron, for plotting attacks with Ranimat while in prison, Haitham Hamidan on suspicion of storing the cell’s weapons as well as J’ad Sultan, who is suspected of providing the arms.
As part of the investigation into the cell, Israeli security forces seized two AK-47s, three pistols, a hunting rifle, a long-barreled M-16, a short-barreled M-16, clips and ammunition.
The Shin Bet said “the uncovering of the infrastructure reveals the high motivation of Hamas militants, both in the field and in prison, to carry out severe attacks including shootings and abductions.”
Since the beginning of the latest wave of Palestinian violence, numerous attacks have been thwarted in and around Hebron, a stronghold of Hamas. A military court is expected to issue an indictment against the suspects in the coming days.