Members of a Hebron Hamas cell responsible for murdering of six Israelis and wounding eight in shooting attacks in 2005, were arrested last month by security forces, the Shin Bet revealed Monday.
According to the Shin Bet, the cell members' arrests thwarted plans to manufacture explosives to be used in future attacks. The members were identified as Shakib Awiwi, 22, an owner of a clothes stall in Hebron; Mussa Vazouz, 23, who worked in a Hebron shop; and Mohammed Jilani, 23, a construction worker from Beit Kahil.
|JPOST.COM HIT LIST|
See JPost.com's hottest articles this past week [click here]
Others who were recruited to the cell but later left were identified as Awiwi's cousin Louie,19; and Kassam Aziz Jaber, 20.
Shakib Awiwi confessed to setting up the cell last year together with Mussa Vazouz on behalf of Hamas. Awiwi and Vazouz then recruited Jaber and the three underwent military training in preparation for shooting attacks.
In April 2005, Shakib attempted to shoot at an IDF post in Hebron, but failed to hit the soldiers. Shortly later, Jaber left the cell and Awiwi's cousin took his place.
On June 24, 2005, the three shot at civilians who were waiting at a hitchhiking stand near Beit Hagai, killing teenagers Avihai Levy and Aviad Mansouri and wounding three other Israelis. Four days later, they opened fire at an IDF jeep traveling on Road 35 north of Hebron, but failed to hit the soldiers. Cell members also planned to shoot soldiers spotted frequenting a billiard club in the Hebron area, but decided against the attack due to lack of sufficient weapons.
Louie Awiwi then left the cell and was replaced by Mohammed Jilani. On July 22, the cell members opened fire at soldiers manning an IDF post in Hebron, wounding two soldiers and killing a Palestinian civilian.
On October 16, 2005, the cell members again targeted Israeli civilian hitchhikers in Gush Etzion, killing Oz Ben-Meir, Matat Adler-Rosenfeld and Kinneret Mandel, and wounding three others.
On December 16, they opened fire at an Israeli car traveling on Road 60 near Beit Hagai, killing Yossi Shok. After the attack, Awiwi telephoned Al Jazeera and the Al Arabia
newspaper and claimed responsibility on behalf of Hamas.
Security officials noted that the cell members cleaned the bullets used in attacks to erase traces of fingerprints, and also swapped cars they used in the shooting attacks to avoid detection. After they were arrested, they revealed the location of the Kalashnikov rifle and two Karl Gustav rifles used in the attacks.
Zviki Bar-Chai, head of the Hebron Hills Regional Council, praised the security forces for nabbing the Hamas terrorists responsible for murdering Israelis.