Shin Bet foils Hamas cell trying to undermine PA rule in West Bank

Cell attempted to establish terror infrastructure and undermine Palestinian Authority, according to security forces.

January 16, 2017 11:10
2 minute read.
IDF soldiers.

IDF soldiers.. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

Israeli security forces have arrested 13 Hamas operatives in the West Bank’s Binyamin region attempting to establish terrorist infrastructure and undermine the Palestinian Authority, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) announced Monday.

During the investigation into the cell, an extensive Hamas infrastructure operating in the Ramallah sector and the West Bank’s Binyamin region was discovered, including the headquarters of the terrorist group in the region.

Among those arrested was a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council for Hamas. During the joint IDF-Shin Bet operation, money, a vehicle and Hamas propaganda materials were seized, the Shin Bet said in a statement.

The cell, which had a clear hierarchical organizational system and included over a dozen activists, “worked to strengthen the grip of Hamas in the West Bank as an organization and as one with a broad regional impact,” according to the statement.

Shin Bet officials said funding for the cell came from “Hamas officials from the Gaza Strip, as well as from abroad.”

The cell acted as the Hamas headquarters for the region in terms of social and economic activities, financially supporting the families of Hamas prisoners and terrorists, as well as the propaganda headquarters, spreading Hamas messages and sponsoring rallies.

“The uncovering of the infrastructure indicates the continued strategic intentions of Hamas to operate and establish its presence on the ground, in an attempt to topple the Palestinian Authority,” a statement put out by the Shin Bet said.

“The Shin Bet, together with the IDF, will continue to work with determination to thwart and foil terrorist activities,” the statement continued.

In addition, a gun-making workshop in the Palestinian refugee camp of al-Arroub, north of the West Bank city of Hebron, was uncovered by IDF soldiers and Shin Bet operatives during an overnight raid on Monday. Four lathes used for manufacturing weapons were confiscated.

Security forces believe that most of the shooting attacks which have occurred in the West Bank and inside Israel were carried out with weapons locally produced in the West Bank.

Israeli security forces, including the Shin Bet intelligence agency, Israeli Defense Forces and police, have increased their efforts to uncover unofficial workshops producing illegal weapons, carrying out near-nightly raids in the West Bank, as well as shutting down weapons factories and confiscating arms.

As a result, the number of illegal explosive devices and other weapons that could end up in the hands of potential attackers has been greatly reduced. According to the army, over 40 gun-making workshops have been shut down and over 420 weapons have been confiscated in recent months.

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