Palestinian terror group Hamas is reportedly planning to resume suicide bombing attacks against Israelis, including “political and security figures.”
According to Lebanon’s The News, cited by the Hebrew-language Maariv daily on Thursday, a Hamas source said the attacks would be carried out by the organization’s “sleeper cells,” which have been directed to strike targets inside Israel.
The paper quoted a Hamas leader as saying that “the operations will be carried out soon, and include a list of targets that includes political and security figures inside Israel.”
The attacks are reportedly to focus on army and police officials.
Hamas sources also claimed that it was maintaining ties with members of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement.
Israeli officials are aware of the directive to resume the bombings, The News reported. Israel 10 days ago uncovered a Hamas cell operating in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Dis, which had been planning to carry out suicide attacks. The Shin Bet said the cell was controlled by Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip.
In a joint operation with the IDF and Israel Police, the Shin Bet has thus far arrested 25 Hamas operatives, the majority of them students from Al-Quds University in Abu Dis, whom they suspect were preparing to attack Israeli targets, the Shin Bet security service said in a statement last week. The arrests were carried out in recent weeks.
A senior Palestinian Authority source told The Times of Israel last week that Hamas is attempting to launch major terror attacks against Israel, including suicide bombings, from the West Bank. Information gleaned from interrogations of Hamas operatives arrested recently by PA security services shows that the terror group’s leaders in Gaza and abroad have sent orders to local commanders to escalate their activities — from encouraging protests and stabbing attacks to more dramatic and deadly assaults on Israeli civilians, the source said.
At least 25 Israelis have been killed and hundreds more wounded in an ongoing wave of Palestinian violence — including car-rammings, stabbings and shootings — that began in October. More than 130 Palestinians have also died, most while carrying out terror attacks and many of the others during violent clashes with Israeli security forces.
The current attacks have yet to include suicide bombings, which killed hundreds of Israelis during the Second Intifada at the start of the millennium, and led to a massive Israeli military operation in the West Bank aimed at ending them.