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Israel Security Agency announces arrest of terrorists from thwarted bus bombing

Shin Bet investigation reveals an extensive terror network in West Bank

A gun and other contraband allegedly belonging to a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terror cell, which is accused of an attempted bombing in the settlement of Beitar Illit and planning other attacks, in a handout photo from May 8, 2023. (Photo: Israel Security Agency)

Israel Security Agency (ISA), known in Hebrew by the letters Shin Bet, announced the arrest of six terrorists from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), suspected of involvement in a thwarted bus bombing in the ultra-Orthodox Haredi community of Betar Illit in March.

The explosive was planted on a bus, malfunctioned and then began emitting smoke, which alerted passengers to its presence. Bomb disposal experts destroyed the explosive and , the following day, arrested a local Palestinian involved in planting the device.

While the bomb in the attempted attack was located and destroyed before anyone was harmed, security forces continued to investigate those responsible.

On Monday morning, ISA announced the arrest of those involved in the attempted bombing, allegedly claiming there were additional explosive attacks being planned. ISA’s investigation revealed the suspects' roles in the thwarted bus bombing throughout the various stages.

According to security officials, many of the terror cell members came from the Bethlehem area.

As part of the Betar Illit attack, the terrorists recruited an individual perpetrator and rented a safe house to be used during the process of attack.

The terror cell was reportedly operating under orders from PFLP Chairman Ahmad Saadat and his deputy, Jamil Mizhar. ISA said other PFLP members were involved in planning the attacks, including an official in Lebanon who is believed to have been directly involved in the Betar Illit attack.

The six terrorists have been arrested and will be charged with attempted murder, explosive manufacturing, membership in an illegal association, as well as other security offenses, according to security officials.

ISA said the investigation revealed an extensive PFLP terror network in Judea and Samaria, known as the West Bank. The network has allegedly been operated by PFLP officials, including some who are already in prison.

Since the beginning of the year, 19 people have been killed in Palestinian terror attacks, with many others injured.

At the same time, some 100 Palestinians have been killed, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claiming that “90% of the Palestinian casualties are terrorists.”  

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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