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Israel busts West Bank Hamas cell planning bomb attacks

Six suspects arrested for amassing explosive components, enlisting operatives in Nablus

Bags of explosive materials confiscated by the Shin Bet from a suspected Hamas cell in Qalqilya in an undated photo. (photo credit: Shin Bet)
Bags of explosive materials confiscated by the Shin Bet from a suspected Hamas cell in Qalqilya in an undated photo. (photo credit: Shin Bet)

Israeli security personnel arrested six Palestinian men suspected of belonging to a Hamas cell in the West Bank that was plotting to carry out bombings in Israel, the Shin Bet security service said Sunday.

A joint operation by the Shin Bet security service, Israel Police and IDF uncovered the cell in the West Bank city of Qalqilya and found dozens of pounds of sulfur and several grams of mercury fulminate, components for explosives, the security agency said in a statement.

There was no indication of when the arrests took place, but announcements typically come a month or more after arrest operations.

The members of the cell told Israeli authorities that they were drafted into Hamas’s armed wing while in Jordan, underwent training in the Gaza Strip, and were dispatched to the West Bank to carry out attacks and enlist other operatives, according to the Shin Bet.

The six suspects arrested by Israeli authorities were named as Abdullah Mehmed Yussuf Zitawi, 26, a resident of Jama’in; Walid Muhammad Mahmoud Abu Zina, 26, of Jenin; Malek Raed Farouk Ghanem, 22, of Amatin; Rejaa Khaled Rejaa Sabara, 22, of Brukin, Jasser Muhammad Sayed Abu Omar, 42, of Jama’in, and Baha al-Din Fathi Mahmoud Suwan, 33, of Amatin.

The suspects allegedly converted an apartment in Nablus into a bomb factory, which had components for building shrapnel bombs. Some explosive materials were confiscated by Israeli authorities.

The arrests were the latest in a string of terror sting operations in the West Bank by Israeli forces.

Last month, the Shin Bet said it busted two Palestinian cells whose members allegedly fired on Israeli soldiers and civilians in the West Bank.

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