Despite deadly raid, additional Hamas cell members likely still on the run

The raid, the chief of staff said, struck a “very serious” blow to the network that operated in the entire Menashe and Binyamin area. 

Palestinian Hamas militants take part in an anti-Israel rally in Gaza City May 22, 2021 (photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMMED SALEM)
Palestinian Hamas militants take part in an anti-Israel rally in Gaza City May 22, 2021
(photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMMED SALEM)

Additional members of a Hamas cell planning imminent terrorist attacks in Israel are likely still on the loose, the military believes, despite a deadly raid overnight that killed five Palestinians and injured two IDF troops.

Sources said that the large and heavily armed Hamas cell that was targeted during the arrests planned to carry out attacks in the West Bank and inside Israel. The cell also planned to kidnap soldiers in the West Bank, Channel 13 reported Sunday.

While security forces have arrested some 20 militants belonging to the cell and confiscated five guns, there are additional suspects who belong to the same cell who have not yet been arrested.

Though the IDF believes the raids struck a significant blow to the cell’s plans, it is still not sure if the threat posed by the cell has passed.

Following the raids, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi visited the Menashe Regional Brigade and held a situational assessment along with head of the Central Command Maj.-Gen. Yehuda Fuchs, Commander of the Judea and Samaria Division Brig.-Gen. Yaniv Alaluf, Commander of the Menashe Brigade Col. Arik Moyal, and other senior officers.

Kohavi called the arrests a “significant achievement” that prevented “significant terror attacks” that could have taken place in Jerusalem, Netanya, Tel Aviv, Afula and elsewhere in the country were thwarted because of the “extraordinary cooperation” of all security forces.

Israeli president Reuven Rivlin, Defense Benny Gantz and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi pay a visit to Lea and Simcha Goldin, parents of Lt. Hadar Goldin as they attend a passive protest outside the memorial ceremony marking six to his death and abduction outside the military cemetery in Je (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)Israeli president Reuven Rivlin, Defense Benny Gantz and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi pay a visit to Lea and Simcha Goldin, parents of Lt. Hadar Goldin as they attend a passive protest outside the memorial ceremony marking six to his death and abduction outside the military cemetery in Je (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

“We all need to remember and be reminded that these operations take place dozens of times a week. This is what produces security for the State of Israel in the Judea and Samaria area, and it is not only in this area,” he said.

The raid, the chief of staff said, struck a “very serious” blow to the network that operated in the entire Menashe and Binyamin area.

Israeli security forces from the elite Duvdevan counter-terrorism unit along with the Israel Police and Border Police’s YAMAM and YAMAS units took part in the raid in five different locations in the West Bank, killing five Palestinians.

Two Israeli soldiers, an officer and a soldier were seriously injured during one of the firefights that broke out.

Sending his best wishes to the injured troops, the chief of staff said, “The fighters acted with great professionalism and courage,” adding that the IDF “will continue to act at all times, on every front, in order to ensure the security of the citizens of the State of Israel.”

Kohavi said while the military needs to investigate the circumstances surrounding the injuries of the Israeli forces, “One thing is clear: The troops strived for contact” with the armed Palestinians and as a result were injured.