IDF nabs 2 terror cells linked to West Bank rioting

Security forces arrested in November members of both terror cells allegedly behind a series of violent disturbances in the West Bank.

Al-Aqsa brigades of Fatah gunmen 370 (photo credit:  	 REUTERS/Mohammed Salem)
Al-Aqsa brigades of Fatah gunmen 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohammed Salem)
Security forces uncovered two terror cells that were allegedly behind a series of violent disturbances in the West Bank in recent weeks.
The arrests were made in November, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said on Wednesday.
The first series of arrests targeted suspects from Husan and the Bethlehem area who are believed to have thrown rocks at an Israeli vehicle on Route 60, which seriously wounded an Israeli woman, Ziyona Kala.
Kala was hurt on November 20, allegedly when the cell decided to carry out several attacks to take “revenge” on Israel for aerial attacks on terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip during Operation Pillar of Defense.
First, the cell threw rocks at a bus being driven by Avraham Babila, security forces believe. The rocks broke the bus’s front and right windshields.
Next, the cell allegedly threw rocks at the car of Hai Ibagi. The rocks broke the driver-side windshield and wounded Ibagi in the face.
The cell then threw rocks at a woman driving a Chevrolet, security forces say. The rocks damaged the body of the car.
Kala, who was a passenger in Merav Weitzman’s car, was the last to be attacked by the cell.
The cell waited until the car was two meters away and then threw extra large rocks.
One of the rocks hit Kala and caused a serious head wound.
Kala, wife of the wellknown singer Itzik Kala, was in intensive care for weeks after the attack, before regaining consciousness last month.
Her husband told Channel 2 in December that when he first saw her in the hospital, “I didn’t believe she would live. Without a doubt, there was a moment I fell apart. I don’t remember when I cried like that.”
Since then, Ziyona Kala has made good progress in her recovery.
“During questioning by the Shin Bet, the suspects – some of them minors – confessed to the act, and to throwing rocks at other vehicles that traveled along the road at the time,” the Shin Bet said.
The intelligence agency named Abd Aluhab Hamamra, 22, as the man who threw the rock that caused the wound. He was charged recently in the Military Court of Judea. Four additional suspects – three of them minors – will be charged for taking part in the attack.
The IDF prosecutor plans to call more than a dozen witnesses in the cases.
In another investigation, a group of Palestinians from Kafr Bita, near Nablus, are under arrest for throwing rocks from a moving vehicle, and for attempting to carry out shooting attacks using a homemade firearm in Samaria.
The Shin Bet said that the suspects confessed to being behind violent disturbances and attempted shooting attacks. One of the suspects – a minor – acted as a driver during the rock throwing, the Shin Bet added. A second suspect, Hamza Abd Salah Khader, 22, a member of the Fatah Tanzim group, confessed to being head of the cell, and to opening fire on Israeli targets.
The suspects will be charged in the coming days in the Samaria Military Court.
“We view rock throwing incidents as grave incidents,” the Shin Bet said, “especially rock throwing from a moving vehicle, which creates a significant danger.”
The Shin Bet said similar attacks in the past resulted in the murders of Asher Palmer and his baby son, Yehonatan, in September 2011, when rocks were thrown at their vehicle from another moving vehicle near Hebron.