Israeli security forces have averted a possible terrorist attack with the arrest of a Palestinian who was trained by a militant Islamic group based in Syria to carry out terror attacks in the Jewish state.
Details of last week’s arrest of Salim Muhammed Abdel Banah were released Monday by Jerusalem police.
Banah, a Palestinian carrying a Jordanian passport, was apprehended by the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security service, in conjunction with Jerusalem police, according to reports.
Banah had recently spent time in Damascus, where he made contact with the militant Islamic Jihad group and was trained to carry out attacks, he told interrogators.
He was instructed by his operatives to enter Israel as a tourist, then plan terror attacks in populated areas.
Banah’s arrest follows last week’s disclosure that Israeli security forces had uncovered a terror cell operating in eastern Jerusalem.
Israeli security forces revealed that they had arrested 11 Hamas members suspected of helping the terrorist responsible for the Feb. 25 and March 3 attacks on two No. 18 buses in Jerusalem as well as the Feb. 25 attack at a hitchhiking post in Ashkelon.
The three suicide bombings left 46 innocent people dead.
A fourth suicide bombing March 4 in Tel Aviv claimed the lives of 13 victims. Hamas claimed responsibility for that attack.
The 11 suspects were arrested shortly after the attacks, but the police refused to release details until now.
The suspects acknowledged during questioning that they were recruited a year ago in Gaza and underwent training by the military arm of the fundamentalist Hamas movement.
Five of those arrested had been instructed by Hamas in Gaza to deliver explosive devices to the three suicide bombers.
A few days before the attacks, the five transported the explosive devices and the suicide bombers through roadblocks to Jerusalem, where they hid in homes and mosques until they carried out the attacks.
On the mornings of the two attacks in Jerusalem, the suicide bombers, with the explosive devices hidden in small bags, were driven to Jaffa Road and dropped off at the bus stop in front of City Hall, where they boarded the No. 18 buses.
Another member of the group drove a suicide bomber to the Ashkelon Junction, where he exploded the bomb that was hidden on his body.
The other six suspects were accused of membership in Hamas, and of activities in the Jerusalem area that included throwing rocks and firebombs, blocking roads, writing slogans on walls and participating in illegal demonstrations.