Shin Bet Arrests Hamas Cell Said to Operate Near Jerusalem

The five men are suspected of placing explosive devices, throwing firebombs at security forces and taking part in shootings; two other militants men were arrested separately.

Five Palestinians from a Hamas cell in the West Bank were arrested last month on suspicion of committing a number of terrorist acts, the Shin Bet security service said Sunday.

The five men, residents of the village of Bidu near Jerusalem, are suspected of placing explosive devices, throwing firebombs at security forces and taking part in shootings at the town of Har Adar near Jerusalem in 2015.

The men planned to carry out further shooting attacks, the Shin Bet said.

Separately, a Hamas man from the northern West Bank and another Palestinian from the Hebron area were arrested in early February for planning a terrorist attack against Israelis, the Shin Bet said. They were captured in a joint operation by the army and the security service.

The two men planned shootings against Israeli vehicles and had begun reconnaissance efforts for the attacks, the Shin Bet said in a statement, adding that indictments were expected.

One of the men is suspected of buying guns for the attack, which were seized when he was arrested. The two also manufactured explosive devices and carried out tests to check them, the Shin Bet said.

Last month, the Shin Bet announced that it had arrested Hamas men from the village of Bani Na’im near Hebron on suspicions they were planning terrorist attacks against Israelis. According to the security service, the men gathered intelligence on whether they could attack a military base near Kafr Qara, the Binyamina train station and bus stops in the Wadi Ara region areas they knew after working illegally in Israel.

In December, the Shin Bet said it had arrested over 20 Hamas men suspected of planning suicide bombings and shootings against Israelis. As part of the plan, four Palestinians would blow themselves up at sites in the Jerusalem and Haifa areas, the Shin Bet said.