Israeli security forces arrested nine members of a Hamas cell that was planning to kidnap an IDF soldier and carry out terror attacks in the West Bank, Israel's Shin Bet announced in a statement on Sunday.
In a joint operation, the Israel Security Agency (ISA) or Shin Bet, along with Israel Defense Forces and Israel Police, arrested nine Palestinians suspected of setting up a terror network for the Hamas terror organization in the West Bank town of Biddu, a little less than 4 miles northwest of Jerusalem.
The main goal of the terror cell was to kidnap an IDF soldier.
The terrorists acquired guns, prepared explosives and bombs, collected intelligence about the daily routine of the IDF soldiers in that region and planned possible escape routes.
The group built a laboratory in a residential home and studied the necessary techniques and chemicals. Israeli forces later found explosives, fireworks, pipe bombs and other devices in the lab, as well as a place where they intended to hide the kidnapped IDF soldier.
In addition, members of the cell were preparing to attack Israeli forces and had laid traps with explosive charges.
Two years ago, Israeli security forces foiled a different Hamas cell in Biddu with similar plans. Some of its members were relatives of the suspects arrested last week, indicating the possibility that Hamas tried to resurrect its failed cell.
"Some of the Biddu detainees are related to the Hamas terrorists interdicted in Biddu two years ago," explained Joe Truzman, a research analyst at The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) Long War Journal.
"This underscores the degree to which Palestinian terrorism and clan affiliations can be intertwined — posing an additional challenge to preventive intelligence gathering,” Truzman added.
"Hamas in the West Bank continues to try and destabilize the region with support and at the direction of the Hamas headquarters abroad and in Gaza," the Shin Bet statement read.
"The location of this cell in Biddu, close to Israel’s capital and the West Bank security barrier abutting several Israeli communities, made it especially dangerous,” said Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO in his analysis of the incident.
The investigation into the Hamas cell in Biddu will continue to be under investigation, the Shin Bet added.
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The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.