‘Large and active’ Hamas cell uncovered in West Bank


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli security forces uncovered an “extraordinarily large and active Hamas infrastructure” operating in the West Bank.

The terror cell located near Nablus in the West Bank was active from October 2017 until April 2018, when the cell was detained, the Israel Security Agency, also known as the Shin Bet, said Sunday in a statement. A gag order was lifted on the case Sunday after the cell’s two leaders, Mutassem Muhammad Salem and Fares Kamil Zavidi, both Hamas members from Nablus, were indicted.

The cell intended to carry out terrorist attacks in Israel and the West Bank including a bomb attack in Tel Aviv, a suicide attack in Jerusalem, a bomb attack in the West Bank community of Itamar, and shooting attacks in the West Bank, according to a statement issued Sunday by the Israel Security Agency or ISA.

The ISA, the Israel Defense Forces, and the Israel Police participated in the operation to uncover the terror cell.

The planned attacks were thwarted, some at the last minute, due to the arrest of the cell members, according to the ISA.

During the investigation, several homemade bombs were seized, one weighing more than 20 pounds and which was to be operated by a cellular phone, as well as more than 30 pounds of explosive material, raw materials for the production of explosives, weapons and instructions for the manufacture of bombs and explosive materials.  Additional Hamas cells which planned to carry out attacks also were uncovered.

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