An IDF soldier..
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)
A terrorist cell planning attacks against soldiers in the South was arrested in November in a joint police and Shin Bet operation, it was cleared for release on Tuesday.
According to the Shin Bet, the terrorist cell, whose members are Israeli civilians, plotted to carry out attacks in the Negev in retaliation for Israel’s decision to outlaw the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement.
Two of the suspects, 37-yearold Muhammad Masri of Beersheba and 26-year-old Abd Allah Abu Ayash from Kasifa are currently under arrest, accused of planning to attack soldiers in either Dimona, Arad or the Nevatim airbase.
According to the Shin Bet, Masri, the leader of the cell, had been released from prison in 2013 after spending 12 years behind bars for planning an attack on a Herzliya wedding hall. During his time in prison he made ties with imprisoned Hamas members from both the Gaza Strip and West Bank, including senior Hamas official Yahya Sinwar.
Following his release, Masri joined the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement and employed Ayash at his store in Beersheba.
A third, unnamed suspect is from the central Arab town of Kalansuwa and was also arrested for his role in the cell. He was also active in the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement and had served time behind bars from 2006-2010 for actively for serious security offenses including the selling of weapons to terrorists in Tulkarm with the intent to attack IDF units there.
During the police and Shin Bet investigation it was revealed that cell had made a thorough tour of the area in which they had planned to attack and gathered information about several locations in the area.
According to the Shin Bet, forces also uncovered a Karl Gustav-style rifle that the suspects had stashed, as well as a large amount of systems that operate explosive devices.
Three other Arab Israelis, 21-year-old Abu Bakr Takfa and 22-year-old Rami Abu Takfa of southern Beduin town Shaqib al-Salam as well as 26-year-old Muhammad Abu Kaf from the Beduin region near Nevatim have been arrested in connection with the planned attack, and Masri and Abu Ayash are expected to be indicted in the upcoming days.
The investigation is expected to continue and security forces are preparing to conduct several more arrests in accordance with information gathered throughout the investigation.