Explosive device and weapons confiscated from Hamas cell in Hebron..
(photo credit: SHIN BET)
Security forces arrested 11 Palestinian men on suspicion of belonging to a Hamas terrorist cell in Hebron, which planned suicide bombings, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said Monday.
The arrests took place throughout the month of January, the domestic intelligence agency said – after the cell attempted to carry out an attack but failed, it added.
“During the arrest, explosives and weapons that were supposed to be used in planned attacks were seized,” the Shin Bet said. Of the 11 suspects, the Shin Bet named two central alleged operatives, 20-year-old Hebron resident, Saib Saltan, and his cousin, 28-year-old Hebron resident, Abas Saltan. The latter is a member of Hamas’s military wing and served a prison sentence and time behind bars in administrative detention, the Shin Bet added.
“During questioning, the two confessed to attempting to carry out a terrorist attack in December 2014 in Tel Rumeida, Hebron,” the agency said. “They sought to attract IDF units, by throwing an explosive, to a point where another powerful explosive was planted, designed to target the forces in the area. Due to a technical problem, the explosive malfunctioned.”
The cell members gathered intelligence for additional attacks, including information on areas where Israelis are located in Hebron, and targets in Jerusalem. “Some agreed to be suicide bombers,” the Shin Bet said. “The activities of this cell reflect the tangible threat posed by Hamas activities in Hebron, and military operatives arrested in the past, who go back to the cycle of terrorism,” it stated.
Military prosecutors will receive files on the suspects in the coming days, ahead of charges that are set to be brought against all of the suspects.