JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israel Security Agency said it uncovered attempts by the heads of Hamas in Gaza to establish a terror cell in the West Bank that would carry out “severe terrorist attacks” in Israel.
Hamas in Gaza recruited Hamas members in the West Bank, trained them in how to prepare explosives and ordered them to select crowded sites in Israel for the attacks, the ISA, also known as the Shin Bet, said in a statement on Thursday.
The terrorists planned to exploit the entry of sick residents of Gaza who received permits to go to hospitals in Israel for life-saving medical treatment to pass messages in order to carry out the attacks inside of Israel, the ISA said.
“This is not the first time that Hamas has exploited the humanitarian axis in order to carry out military operations in Judea and Samaria,” according to the statement, which uses the biblical terms for the area of the West Bank.
The ISA said its investigation revealed that the leaders of the terror infrastructure pressured the West Bank operatives to carry out the attacks as soon as possible in order to bring about a security escalation in both the Gaza Strip and West Bank.