JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israel Security Agency arrested members of an Islamic Jihad terror cell that planned to assassinate Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman.
The six Bethlehem-area cell members planned to plant explosives along a highway that Liberman was expected to use in the West Bank, the ISA, also known as the Shin Bet security service, announced on Sunday. It is the second time in recent years that a terror cell planning to blow up Liberman in his car has been caught, according to the agency.
A second Bethlehem-area Islamic Jihad cell that was planning shooting attacks against Israeli civilians and Israel Defense Forces soldiers in the Etzion Bloc of the West Bank also was arrested.
At least one cell member stated that his goal was to be arrested in order to receive prisoner payments from Islamic Jihad. Cell members had turned to terrorists in Gaza in order to get financing to help them buy the explosives needed to blow up Liberman’s car.
Indictments against the cell members were filed in Judea Military Court on Sunday.
The planned attacks “reflect the recent and increasing efforts of Islamic Jihad and other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip to intensify operations in Judea and Samaria,” the Israel Security Agency said in a statement, using the biblical terms of the areas that make up the West Bank.
“The cell’s plans to appeal for assistance from terrorists based in the Gaza Strip are part of a growing trend by terrorists in Judea and Samaria to acquire financing, war materiel, guidance and sponsorship from sources outside Judea and Samaria,” the statement said.