IDF soldiers patrol during a raid 390 (R).
(photo credit: Abed Omar Qusini / Reuters)
Palestinian security services on Friday extricated an Israeli national who had mistakenly drove into a West Bank village near Nablus after losing his way, according to Israel Radio. The Israeli was unharmed and turned over to IDF soldiers nearby.
The IDF has issued a longstanding travel warning to Israelis against entering Area A – the pockets of the West Bank that are under exclusive Palestinian civil and military control.
In March, Israeli authorities warned that Palestinian militants were planning to kidnap Israeli soldiers and civilians in Judea and Samaria
Earlier this week, authorities announced that security forces led by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) arrested members of a Hamas-affiliated terrorist cell in Kalkilya who in recent months were plotting a campaign of bombings and shootings against Israeli targets.
The suspects, who were arrested in a series of raids between December and March, were in the early phase of planning terrorist attacks on Israeli targets in the West Bank and within the Green Line, security sources told The Jerusalem Post.
The terrorists had begun construction of homemade explosives, the Shin Bet said. The suspects are Khaled Mahmoud Daoud, 21, an Israeli citizen, and six Palestinians, two of them brothers, and Salah Daoud, 30, a prominent Hamas member in Kalkilya, security forces said.
The suspects divided their time between the West Bank city of Kalkilya, which is adjacent to Kfar Saba, and Kafr Bara, located within the Green Line and east of Hod Hasharon, the investigation found.
“They built improvised explosive devices using agricultural fertilizers, and carried out tests of bombs they prepared, including the setting off an improvised explosive. They planned on purchasing firearms from [within] Israel,” the Shin Bet said.
Israeli citizen Khaled Mahmoud Daoud intended to exploit his freedom of movement to Israel to obtain materials to assemble bombs, as well as high quality firearms, the domestic intelligence agency said.
Salah Daoud “agreed to fund the activities of the cell, and offered its members to make use of other [Hamas] recruits whom he knew,” the agency said. In the coming days, the suspects will be indicted in court and charged with a host of terrorist-related offenses Palestinian Authority security forces had arrested some of the suspects before Israel took them into custody, but they were released, despite being found in possession of a remote-control bomb detonator, the Shin Bet said.
The Israeli Daoud has been in custody since December 2013.
Security forces were initially unable to gather sufficient evidence against him, and he was therefore placed under administrative detention by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. The defense minister’s order was carried out under the supervision of a court.
Now, security forces said, sufficient evidence has been gathered for an indictment, and the administrative detention order will be withdrawn.
“This investigation has shown, once again, the motivation that exists on the ground for carrying out terrorist attacks against Israelis.
It also demonstrates the hidden risk in the recruitment of Israeli citizens by terrorist organizations in order to carry out attacks,” the Shin Bet said.Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.