Israel’s internal security agency on Wednesday accused Hamas’s interior minister in the Gaza Strip of conspiring to carry out terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians in Israel and the West Bank for the past several years.
The Shin Bet reported that recent testimonies gleaned from security detainees in the West Bank yielded information about plots led by Fathi Hammad “to carry out grave terrorist attacks” against Israel. According to the report, investigation of Hamas activists in the West Bank revealed a terrorist cell which the Shin Bet claims was run remotely by Hammad from the Gaza Strip.
“The cell, whose members were residents of [the West Bank villages of] Ras Karkar and Silwad, planned to carry out terrorist attacks of different designs, mostly the planting of explosives, the kidnapping of a soldier or settler, and the manufacture and firing of rockets,” the Shin Bet report said.
Hammad’s intermediaries communicated with the West Bank cell “via the Internet and operational phones” and gave them “instruction on manufacturing weapons and enlisting additional members to the cell,” as well as “concrete instructions on kidnapping a soldier, taking his ID card and cellphone for the purpose of negotiations, and afterwards killing [the captive] and burying him in a hidden location,” the report said.
The Shin Bet said the plots were foiled with the recent arrests of the Hamas operatives in the West Bank. The agency stated that Hammad’s alleged involvement in planning the terrorist attacks “constitutes a blatant violation of the [ceasefire] agreement” reached by Israel and Hamas in November which ended the eight-day Operation Pillar of Defense.
In his official capacity as a senior member of Hamas, Hammad has been a vocal advocate of terrorism against Israel and has called for the “liberation” of Israeli cities by Hamas. In the weeks following last year’s fighting between Israel and Hamas, Hammad said that “the future battles will be more brutal and more violent” and that Hamas had a “stronger, more advanced, more far-reaching plan” to achieve the “liberation of Palestine — all of Palestine.” The Hamas Interior Ministry, he added, continues to “sacrifice martyrs” in the attempt to eradicate Israel.
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