Israel Arrests Hamas Member Who Planned Suicide Attack Near Election Day

Shin Bet security service say 23-year-old Palestinian planned to attack civilians and soldiers near Jerusalem

Israel's Shin Bet security service said on Sunday it has arrested a Hamas member who planned a terror attack close to Election Day. The arrest of 23-year-old Yahiya Abu Dia, from the village of Al-Zaim east of Jerusalem, was made before he completed work on an explosive device, and thus the plot was foiled.

Abu Dia told interrogators he had had online contact with Hamas operatives in Gaza and agreed to carry out missions and become a suicide bomber.

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Yahiya Abu Dia
Shin Bet

Shin Bet said that Abu Dia was asked to purchase a vehicle and rent a warehouse in order to prepare a car bomb, as well as search for an optimal location to attack in the Ma'ale Adumim area near Jerusalem, where many civilians and soldiers commute on buses. Abu Dia carried out surveillance on crowded areas and reported back to the Hamas operatives. Once the operatives chose the location, they asked Abu Dia to carry out the attack quickly.

Abu Dia was also asked to film a will, and he prepared to film himself reading it out while wearing a Hamas headband before embarking on the suicide mission.

A senior Shin Bet official said that "Hamas' terrorist infrastructure in the Gaza Strip is constantly working to recruit Hamas operatives from [the West Bank] in order to carry out murderous terror attacks and undermine the … stability in the region." According to the official, this latest plot by Hamas' military wing "joins a long list of attempted terror attacks which were thwarted by the Shin Bet in recent years, and have so far led to many arrests."