Six members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine were arrested on suspicion of involvement in the attempted Beitar Illit bus bombing on March 9, and for allegedly planning a series of future explosive attacks, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) announced on Monday.
According to the security agency, much of the cell was centered around Bethlehem, with members from the Dehaishe refugee camp, Battir village and Beit Jala, all uncovered and investigated over the past month.
Those arrested included: Bassam Avina, Ahmad Abu Naama, Mazen Abdullah, Muhammad al-Barak, Rami al-Ahmar and Nur Mahmoud.
They planned the Beitar Illit attack, recruited the attacker, and rented safe houses for the attack process. They are also suspected of assembling explosives and purchasing an escape vehicle.
Some of those arrested also were also planning to carry out other terror attacks.
The Shin Bet also arrested an Israeli suspected of helping smuggle some of the terror suspects into Israel and transporting them around the country.
According to the statement, the interrogation of the Israeli showed that she did not realize they were terrorists, so she has been indicted for the lighter crime of merely assisting persons with illegal border crossing and traveling within Israel.
The IDF Prosecution will file indictments in the near future against various terror cell members for attempted murder, assembling explosives, participation in a terror group and other charges.
Who was behind the attempted bombing?
The group's orders allegedly came from PFLP Chairman Ahmad Saadat and his deputy, Jamil Mizhar as well as PFLP officials who are serving prison time in Israel.
Moreover, there were PFLP officials involved in the operations both in Gaza and Lebanon, with a Lebanese official specifically helping direct the Beitar Illit attack.
A statement said that many other shooting attacks and ongoing attempts to purchase weapons were also thwarted as part of arresting and shutting down the cell.