Israeli security forces busted a Hamas ring in the Hebron area planning a series of terror attacks, including suicide bombings, the Shin Bet security service said Monday.
The Shin Bet said it arrested 11 members of the cell in January, and that the group had carried out a failed bomb attack on Israeli troops in the West Bank.
Along with the arrests, security forces seized two sub-machine guns and explosives the cell allegedly planned on using to target Israelis, the Shin Bet said.
The main suspects in the case were named as Suhaib Mamoun Saltan, 20, from Hebron, and his cousin Salam Abbas Saltan, 28, a Hamas operative, who had been convicted and imprisoned by Israel in the past and was also at one time held under administrative detention.
The security service did not release the identities of the other nine suspects in Israeli custody.
In the coming days the Shin Bet will finish transferring the case files against the arrested men to the military prosecution and has asked that they be detained until trial, according to the statement.
“The activities of this cell reflects the real threat from Hamas activities in Hebron and especially from operatives that have been arrested in the past and then returned to the terror pool,” the Shin Bet statement read.
The suspects admitted under questioning that at the beginning of December 2014 they tried to carry out a bombing attack on Tel Rumeida, an archaeological site and Jewish settlement in the West Bank city of Hebron, the Shin Bet said.
The accused planted a large bomb and then lured IDF forces to the area by throwing rocks at soldiers. However, a malfunction prevented the explosives from detonating as planned and the attack failed.
As part of their preparations for terror activities the men allegedly scouted out locations in Hebron and Jerusalem where Israeli citizens were known to gather.
Some of those arrested confessed to be being prepared to carry out suicide attacks, the Israeli security agency said.
The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.
We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.
Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.