Israel thwarts Hamas moves to spread influence in West Bank

Shin Bet announces a number of arrests of Hamas operatives planning activities in the West Bank.

Palestinian students supporting Hamas demonstrate in the West Bank city of Hebron (photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian students supporting Hamas demonstrate in the West Bank city of Hebron
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Security agencies have uncovered several Hamas networks run by university students in the West Bank, the Shin Bet announced on Sunday.
Muhammad Aazi, 20, a Hamas operative from village of Jamma’in, 16 km.
southwest of Nablus, was arrested along with Noor Aldin Ghaith, 22, from Hebron, for planning shooting attacks against Israeli targets, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said.
During the investigation it was discovered that the two men had planned to shoot at civilian and military vehicles traveling on main roads in the area. Aazi and Ghaith had reconnoitered the road and had planned to scatter nails on it, to cause vehicles to stop so they could attack them.
The weapons bought to carry out the attack were seized during the investigation.
The cell had also built bombs to throw at Israelis, and tested devices. The two were also planning to plant an explosive canister at the entrance to a village and explode it against a military vehicle, the Shin Bet said.
More recently, members of a Hamas cell that carried out extensive terrorism activity in Judea and Samaria were arrested, the agency said.
During the investigation it was discovered that members of the cell, residents of Biddu, 6 km. northeast of Jerusalem, planted bombs, threw Molotov cocktails at soldiers operating in the area, and were involved in the attacks on the town of Har Adar, 15 km. west of the capital, in 2015. An additional investigation found that the cell members had planned to perpetrate more shooting attacks.
In addition, a number of students from Bir Zeit University, north of Ramallah, were detained last month in a joint operation of Shin Bet, IDF and Israel Police, for their role in rallies, recruiting and financial activities for Hamas-affiliated Kutla Islamiyah student union, in a bid to consolidate the terrorist group’s hold on the school’s campus.
Bir Zeit University is known as a Hamas stronghold, and the terrorist organization won its student elections two years in a row.
Since the latest wave of Palestinian violence, numerous attacks by Hamas supporters and members have been thwarted in the Judea and Samaria.
In January, security forces arrested 13 Hamas operatives operating in the West Bank’s Binyamin region who were attempting to establish terrorist infrastructure and undermine the Palestinian Authority.
“The Shin Bet together with the IDF will continue to work with determination to thwart and foil terrorist activities,” the agency said.