Shin Bet uncovers Hamas terror cells

September 7, 2011
Some of the suspects arrested (Photo courtesy of the Shin Bet)
One of the bombs discovered (Photo courtesy of the Shin Bet)

A joint Shin Bet, IDF and police operation, which took place over the past few months, has led to the discovery of several Hamas terror cells which were plotting attacks in Israel. According to information obtained by Ynet on Wednesday, only one of the cells was able to carry out its nefarious plan, planting a bomb at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem, in March. One British tourist was killed and 47 people were injured in the attack. A senior Shin Bet official told Ynet that the widespread terror organization was indicative of a concentrated effort by Hamas to rebuild its military infrastructure in Judea and Samaria as means of carrying out attacks against Israeli targets. The infrastructure uncovered, he added, revealed the cooperation within Hamas’ own factions, including the participation of overseas Hamas bases and growing attempts to smuggle weapons from the Gaza Strip to Judea and Samaria. The investigation also linked Arrafa to the attack in the International Convention Center in Jerusalem. He admitted his involvement in the case and confessed to planning a second attack – an abduction of an Israeli citizen in the area. The device was discovered at the Ras al-Amud home of a 23-year-old Azhak Arrafa, a resident of east Jerusalem who has an Israeli ID. He was later identified as a Hamas operative. Following Arrafa’s arrest, Israeli security forces were able to arrest the would-be suicide bomber, Said Qawasmeh (20), from Hebron. As part of the operation, dozens of Hamas operatives, comprising at least 13 terror cells, were arrested across the West Bank over the past few weeks. Ynet has learnt that the terror attacks thwarted included a suicide attack by a bomber who was supposed to blow himself up In Jerusalem’s Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood. The explosives meant for the attack included a bag which was to conceal a fire extinguisher packed with three kilograms of explosive and topped with shrapnel.