Israeli security forces arrested a Hamas-affiliated, Palestinian terror cell, which included an Arab citizen of Israel and aimed to carry out attacks within Israel, the Shin Bet security service said Wednesday.
Several members of the seven-man squad were arrested by Palestinian security forces prior to their arrest by the Shin Bet, but were released, after interrogation, even though a remote control switch designed to activate an explosive device was found in their possession, the Shin Bet said in a press release.
The seven men, including Khaled Daoud, a 21-year-old Israeli citizen, were arrested over the course of the past several months – a period during which the fate of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations often revolved around the release of convicted Arab citizens of Israel from Israeli jails.
“This investigation reveals, yet again, the motivation that exists in the field to carry out terror attacks against Israelis, alongside the danger inherent in the recruitment of Israeli citizens to terror organizations in order to carry out terror attacks,” the Shin Bet said.
The Qalqilya-based cell focused on acquiring standard-issue firearms and improvised explosive devices. The point man for acquisitions was Khaled Daoud, the Shin Bet said, who was “to use his full access to Israel in order to get the basic ingredients necessary” for carrying out either a shooting or bombing attack.
Using agricultural fertilizers, the cell successfully carried out a test explosion.
The men also admitted under interrogation that they had turned to Salah Daoud, a known Hamas activist in Qalqilya, for financial assistance. Daoud agreed to aid the cell and suggested other operatives who might be of assistance.
The Israeli citizen, Khaled Daoud, was arrested in December. Although the Shin Bet believed he was involved in planning an attack, the organization lacked the necessary evidence for an indictment and therefore sought, and received, authorization for administrative detention. Based on information that could not be exposed, the Shin Bet said, the defense minister authorized Daoud’s detainment, which was upheld before a closed court.
The new evidence has enabled the annulment of the administrative detention and will, in the coming days, lead to a public indictment.