Palestinian Authority security forces last week arrested two members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group who had in their possession 17 kilograms (37 pounds) of explosives, according to a report on Tuesday.
The explosive material was “substandard” but still considered a large amount, Channel 12 reported.
The two suspects, both residents of Nablus who were had joined PIJ, were questioned by PA security services about why they had the explosives and their intended use.
The increased presence of Islamic Jihad in the West Bank is seen as a major development in the territory over the past several months, the report said.
Beginning in the Jenin refugee camp, PIJ’s influence has spread to other areas such as Nablus, Tulkarem and Qalqilya.
The expansion is being funded by Iran and its Lebanese proxy, the Hezbollah terror group, which are funneling cash to the areas.
Last week Israel killed a wanted terrorist, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades commander Ibrahim Nabulsi. during a raid in Nablus. Two others were killed in the fierce gun battle and a further 40 people were reported injured.
The operation came less than 48 hours after Israel and PIJ reached a ceasefire following three days of armed conflict in and around the Gaza Strip.
The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades is a coalition of armed groups associated with the Palestinian Authority’s ruling Fatah party. The terror group has carried out joint attacks with Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the West Bank.
PIJ has warned it may resume fighting unless Israel agrees to release two of its members. However, so far neither has been set free.
The Egyptian-mediated deal ended a three-day conflict that began with Israeli strikes that killed a top PIJ commander. Palestinian terrorists subsequently fired around 1,100 rockets toward Israeli territory, while the Israel Defense Forces hit Islamic Jihad targets and killed another of the Iran-backed organization’s top leaders in Gaza.
The conflict followed the arrest by the IDF of the Islamic Jihad’s West Bank head Bassam Saadi in a raid on Jenin and the terror group’s subsequent threats to carry out terror attacks in retaliation.
Tensions have remained high in the West Bank, as Israeli security forces stepped up arrest raids and operations following a deadly wave of terror attacks against Israelis that left 19 people dead earlier this year.