A joint operation of Shin Bet, Israel’s Security Agency) and the Israel Defense Force (IDF) last month led to the arrests of an 11-man Hamas cell in Hebron, which had been planning to carry out terror attacks inside Israel, including a suicide bombing, the Shin Bet announced.
The central suspects in the terrorist activity are Sahaib Mamun Saltan, 20, from Hebron, and his cousin Salam Abbas Saltan, 28, a Hamas military operative who in recent years served a term in Israeli prison and was, on another occasion, held in administrative detention.
During the arrests, explosive devices and weapons allegedly meant to be use in the terror attacks were confiscated.
According to the Shin Bet, the two admitted during interrogation to attempting a terror attack in December 2014 in Tel Rumeida in Hebron. The suspects wished to draw IDF soldiers by throwing an explosive device to a point where a powerful explosive was buried and then detonate the explosive against the soldiers. Due to a technical glitch the explosive failed to go off.
The suspects planned a number of different kinds of terror attacks, collecting intelligence on places where Israelis were present in Hebron and Jerusalem in order to carry out attacks against them. A number of the suspects expressed willingness to serve as suicide bombers.
“The cell’s activities show the real threat of Hamas in Hebron, in particular from military operatives who had been detained in the past and who had returned to the cycle of terror,” the Shin Bet said Monday.
The organization made it clear that in the coming days the files on the suspects will be handed over to the military prosecutor, together with a request for them to be detained until the end of legal proceedings against them.