Picture of would-be Hamas terrorist apprehended by Shin Bet.
(photo credit: SHIN BET)
Security forces uncovered a Hamas cell that planned to carry out a shooting attack against military forces this past Purim, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) announced on Tuesday.
The cell’s members – who came from the town of Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem – purchased a vehicle and underwent firearms training, while also gathering intelligence on targets, the Shin Bet said.
“They were arrested before they were able to carry out the attack. We have seized firearms in the course of the investigation,” the security agency stated.
One of the suspects arrested at the start of March was named as Ma’an Sa’ar, the alleged head of the cell. Sa’ar, from the northern West Bank village of Burka, worked at the Abu Dis University cafeteria. A Hamas member, he served a prison sentence from 2009 to 2011 for his involvement in a shooting attack on the IDF.
A second Hamas suspect, Daoud Adwan of Eizariya, also served time in prison in the past and had expertise in handgun use, the Shin Bet said.
“During questioning by the Shin Bet, it emerged that Ma’an is the one who began, in recent months, to form a plan to carry out the attack, which was initially planned for Jerusalem. He drafted Daoud, and the latter, due to difficulties in carrying out an attack in the city, suggested changing the target to the Kiosk checkpoint at the entrance to Jerusalem,” the Shin Bet said. “Ma’an also planned to draft an additional operative to act as a driver and assist in the shooter’s getaway from the scene of the attack.”
The cell was in a highly advanced stage of planning, according to the agency. Its members practiced firing with a Kalashnikov and a 9-mm. handgun, and rented out a vehicle, which it planned to burn in a forest near Eizariya after the attack, the Shin Bet said.
The suspects will be charged at the Judea Military Court in the coming days.
The investigation underlines “the high motivation by Hamas to carry out attacks in Jerusalem and its environment, and the danger posed by Hamas members who return to the cycle of terrorism after being released from prison,” the security agency said.