Five Hamas operatives arrested en route to commit attacks in Israel.
By YAAKOV KATZPublished: FEBRUARY 11, 2010 15:20Advertisement
The IDF and Shin Bet successfully foiled a Hamas attempt in December to kidnap an IDF soldier and infiltrate two bombs into Israel from Egypt, underscoring the importance of the government’s recent decision to erect a fence along the porous Egyptian border.Five Hamas men were arrested on December 12, 2009 while trying to cross into Israel from the Sinai Peninsula. They were found to be carrying a gun, a silencer and $15,000 in counterfeit bills, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) announced Thursday. The Shin Bet recently revealed that a number of infiltration attempts via the Egyptian border had been foiled in 2009.During the arrest, two of the operatives were wounded. The attack was planned by Rahad Said, a senior commander in the group’s military wing in Gaza, a defense source said.In his interrogation, Salaman Abu Atik, a 43-year-old senior Hamas member specializing in weapons smuggling, confessed to having infiltrated Israel at the behest of Hamas’s military wing to carry out a terror attack and kidnap an IDF soldier.Hamas had reportedly hoped that the kidnapped soldier would serve as a bargaining chip in another prisoner exchange with Israel alongside Gilad Schalit.Atik also admitted to having been sent on several other occasions by Hamas into Israel to commit terrorist acts – plans that never materialized.Atik told his interrogators that another Hamas activist, Ibrahim Za’arah, was planning to enter Israel to carry out an attack. The two had met in the Sinai after crossing into Egypt through a tunnel along the Philadelphi Corridor and decided to join forces. Based on the intelligence information provided by Atik, Za’arah, 44, was arrested on December 31 carrying two explosive devices weighing 6-7 kilograms, as well as detonation devices.Za’arah confessed that he planned to plant the bombs in heavily populated areas, telling interrogators he was ordered to carry out the attack within 10 days after entering Israel. He also admitted that he entered the country in order to assist Atik in kidnapping and murdering an IDF soldier.Meanwhile, on Thursday the Israeli Air Force bombed a terror cell that was trying to carry out an attack near the Karni Crossing into the Gaza Strip. TheIDF said that one of those killed was a known 26-years-old Global Jihadoperative in Gaza. Another Palestinian was injured.The IDF strike came in response to an attack by Palestinian gunmen onan army patrol along the border earlier in the day. In that incident,the soldiers returned artillery and rifle fire in the direction of thegunmen.No soldiers were hurt in the attack, but the Palestinian Ma’an newsagency reported that shrapnel from the IDF artillery injured threechildren in the El-Bureij refugee camp.The IDF said in a statement that it “will continue to work with resolveand might against any person or group that uses terror against thestate of Israel, and holds Hamas exclusively responsible for keepingthe quiet in the Strip.”
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