JERUSALEM (JTA) — Hamas planned to start a third intifada and seize control of the West Bank from Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority, the Shin Bet security service said.
On Monday, the Shin Bet said it arrested 93 Hamas operatives in the West Bank in May and June who were planning a series of massive attacks on Israeli targets, especially the Temple Mount, in order to start the conflagration. Indictments are expected to be filed against at least 70 of the suspects.
The leader was Hamas operations officer Salah Al-Aruri, who lives in Turkey, according to the Shin Bet. Aruri was released and deported in 2010 after years in Israeli jails for terror-related charges.
Terror cells were set up in 46 Palestinian West Bank towns and villages — including in and around Jenin, Nablus, eastern Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Hebron — the Shin Bet said.
Many of those recruited for the cells were students studying chemistry and engineering, and academics, according to the investigation.
Funds for the operation were transferred from Turkey and Jordan, the Shin Bet said. Nearly $600,000 was used to purchase weapons and safe houses.