Security forces uncovered a Hamas terror cell in the West Bank that was planning a string of large-scale suicide terrorist attacks against Israeli targets. The joint Shin Bet, IDF and Israel Police operation has so far led to the arrest of 25 people, mostly students from the University of Abu Dis in East Jerusalem.
Interrogation of the suspects revealed that the cell was run by 24 year old Ahmad Jamal Musa Azam from Qalqilya, who was recruited a few months ago by Hamas in the Gaza strip to set up a militant infrastructure to carry out bombing attacks.
Azam was in constant contact with his handlers in Gaza, who trained him to make explosive belts and other explosive devices. He recruited several other activists who studied with him at the University of Abu Dis to buy raw material to make explosives, rent apartments, enlist suicide bombers and smuggle them into Israel. Among the recruits was a 19 year old Bedouin-Israeli citizen and a 22 year old resident of the Old City of Jerusalem.
Explosives confiscated during the investigation
About a month ago Givati forces uncovered an explosives laboratory in Abu Dis and in a Ramallah store. They found mostly raw chemical materials but the security forces said they have not seen explosives of this scope and quality in the West Bank in a long time. Consequently Duvdevan special forces and the Border Police’s counter-terrorism unit raided the homes of cell members who were arrested and interrogated by Shin Bet.
This is the most significant terrorist cell that has emerged during the recent wave of terror attacks, most of which were carried out by lone terrorists. without organizational affiliation. Some of the 25 detainees are known to security authorities and more arrests are expected.