Israeli security forces earlier this month arrested a group of Hamas-affiliated suspects in the West Bank who were planning bombing attacks against Israeli forces and civilians, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) announced on Monday.
Seven Palestinians from Hebron and Nablus were arrested and interrogated in the operation, led by the Shin Bet and the IDF.
From the suspects’ interrogations, the Shin Bet revealed they had been recruited to the Gaza-based terrorist organization by a Hamas operative named Yahya Amer Muhammad Abu Sayfan.
How seven West Bank Palestinians were recruited by Hamas
The 26-year-old Abu Sayfan, a resident of the Nuseirat refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, is responsible for the recruitment of Palestinian youths to the terrorist group and the dissemination of anti-Zionist and antisemitic incitement on social media.
Abu Sayfan instructed and guided the recruited suspects on how to make explosive devices, in addition to ordering them to carry out the attacks.
The suspects received money to purchase weaponry, explosives and other equipment and substances that were all confiscated by the Israeli security forces.
The suspects were named as Massab Himouni, Ahmad Abu Dawid, Aziz a-Din Al-Zin, Amad Abu Khalaf, Abdullah Quwasma and Maamoun and Khamel Hanani. Indictments for “severe security violations” were brought against most of the suspects, with more charges set to be filed in the coming days, the Shin Bet said.
The arrests highlight Hamas’s efforts to destabilize the West Bank and incite violence by recruiting Palestinian youths, the Shin Bet said, and that the Israeli security establishment will “continue to thwart attempts by Hamas to promote terrorist attacks against Israel.”
Israel has been facing an increased wave of terror in recent months. Due to the situation, and particularly shooting attacks against IDF troops and Israeli civilians in the West Bank, the IDF has decided to reduce the number of troops taking furlough in the Judea and Samaria Division.
According to data released by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), there were at least 23 shooting attacks in the West Bank and Jerusalem in August, an increase of more than 50% from the 15 that took place in July. In addition, there were 135 Molotov cocktail attacks compared to only 75 in July (an 80% increase) and 39 pipe bombs in August vs 27 in the previous month (44% more).