The Israel Security Agency (ISA, also known as the Shin Bet) announced the thwarting of a planned bomb attack against Israeli civilians by a Palestinian terrorist cell in Jenin.
By Erin Viner
Seven residents of the West Bank town have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the plot.
According to the ISA, the cell was recruited and trained by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror group based in Gaza. The domestic security agency also released photographic evidence equipment the PIJ provided to the West Bank terrorists including materials for production of a “high-quality rocket-like explosive device” to carry out their nefarious attacks.
Among the chief suspects is Yasmin Shaaban of the village of Jalamah. The mother-of-four, 40, previously served a prison term after being convicted of conspiring to carry out a PIJ-directed suicide bombing attack against Israelis. She is believed to have been a liaison for the primary PIJ recruiter, named as Ahmad Nabil Ahmad Juda of Rafa in the Gaza Strip, who in turn was following orders by senior PIJ official Jahed Shaker Diab Ganem.
Shaaban, who also served major operative in the smuggling of funds, weapons and ammunition, was formally indicted on 20 April for “serious security offenses,” said the ISA, along with several other suspects.
Another key operative was identified as Muhammad Yassin, who helped to recruit additional terrorists from his home village of Deir Abu Da’if to carry out the planned attack against nearby Israeli farmers.
“In recent years, there has been a campaign by all terror groups in the Gaza Strip to exploit Palestinians living in the West Bank to promote terror activity,” said the ISA in a statement, adding, “This is a systematic and widespread activity that is motivated by organizations, including the Islamic Jihad, in order to destabilize the entire region.”
The security agency stressed that it, the IDF and the Israel Police “will continue their determined work to locate and thwart any terrorist activity aimed at harming the security of Israeli citizens.”
“Every terrorist should know… that ultimately we’ll put our hands on him,” stated Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. “The Shin Bet and security forces are in constant pursuit of Palestinian terror cells that are planning to murder us,” he added, vowing, “We won’t let up the pressure.”
Jenin and its surroundings have been the focus of several counter-terror raids in recent months. Three PIJ operatives were killed and four Israeli soldiers were injured earlier this month during an arrest operation in the lawless Palestinian Authority (PA) city in an exchange of fire during an arrest operation.
In related developments, a Palestinian was killed during clashes with IDF troops earlier today near Jericho.
Palestinian sources identified the individual as Ahmed Ibrahim Oweidat, 20, who was a member of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction. Oweidat’s father is reportedly an official with the PA security services.
Fourteen people in Israel have been killed during the most recent wave of terror that erupted last month. 25 Palestinians, the majority of whom were armed, have been killed during the same time period during clashes with Israeli security forces in the West Bank.