A Palestinian Hamas militant takes part in a rally marking the twelfth anniversary of the death of late Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in Gaza City.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israeli security authorities have uncovered a Hamas cell that planned to carry out terrorist attacks in the West Bank and within Israel, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) announced Monday after the details of the case were cleared for publication.
The three terrorists, Mamduach Yunis, 24, of Arara, and brothers Hassan, 23, and Muhammad Zida’at, 25, from Bnei Naim near Hebron, were all indicted for the plot in the Haifa District Court on Monday.
The indictment filed by the Haifa District Attorney’s Office charged them with conspiracy to commit a felony, participation in and membership in a terrorist organization, contact with a foreign agent, illegally crossing into Israel and various weapons offenses.
Yunis was also charged with aiding an enemy in time of war.
The cell, which received instructions from Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip through Facebook, planned shooting attacks, the planting of explosive devices and kidnappings in the Hebron area.
In addition, the cell gathered intelligence on a number of sites for potential attacks within Israel, including an Afula bus station, a military base near Kafr Kara, the Binyamina Train Station and a synagogue in Zichron Ya’akov.
The members of the cell were familiar with the locations from their time working in Israeli illegally, the Shin Bet stated.
According to the indictment, Hassan and Muhammad both illegally crossed into Israel to Arara over the course of 2014 and 2015, with Muhammad getting a job with a carpenter who is related to Yunis, which was how the three met. The Shin Bet said that Hassan had crossed into Israel after being accused of murder by the Palestinian Authority, and that Muhammad had purchased weapons and gathered intelligence on targets for the cell.
The indictment stated that Hassan also used Internet platforms to make contact with Hamas operatives in Gaza to help plan attacks.
In order to carry out the attacks, cell members started putting away NIS 1,000 per month and eventually purchased weapons and manufactured explosives at the carpentry store and recruited other Palestinians.
Numerous attacks have been thwarted in and around Hebron, a stronghold of the Islamist movement Hamas, since the start of the latest wave of violence to hit Israel and the West Bank.
According to Shin Bet: “The uncovering of the infrastructure and activities it planned demonstrates the high threat level posed by Hamas militants, especially those who enter Israel and remain their illegally.”
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.