By Yona Schnitzer/TPS
Seventeen members of a terrorist cell in Yehudah and Shomron – that worked to advance attacks on behalf of a Gaza-based Hamas terrorist – were arrested during November 2017 in a joint Israel Security Agency (ISA)-Israel Police-IDF operation.
During the ISA investigation, it was learned that Abdallah Arar, a Hamas terrorist who was involved in the abduction of the late Sasson Nuriel, was behind the cell. Arar was expelled to the Gaza Strip in the framework of the Shalit deal and has since engaged in terrorist activity. He is suspected of having instructed Ala Salim, a resident of Jaba in the Binyamin area, to establish a cell and purchase an M-16 in order to perpetrate an attack forthwith and – to this end – transferred funds to him.
Ala Salim contacted fellow Jaba resident Rian Touam and requested his assistance in purchasing an M-16 and gave him several thousand shekels. He also contacted Shehadeh Touam and sought his assistance in recruiting additional cell members. Shehadeh Touam, in turn, contacted Mahmoud Abu Arkov, a young Hamas activist from A-Ram and recruited him to the cell.
The investigation is being conducted in coordination with the military prosecutor who is evaluating the findings prior to the submission of indictments against the suspects.
An ISA official noted, “The Hamas command in the Gaza Strip has been increasingly motivated of late to advance attacks via Hamas members in Yehudah and Shomron. The security forces will continue to take determined action to foil Hamas’s efforts to carry out attacks in Israel and wish to make it clear that Hamas in the Gaza Strip will be held responsible for any attack carried out at its behest.”