ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 149

search

Shin Bet announces arrest of terror cell behind attempted bus bombing in West Bank

Security agency says 6 Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine members planned more attacks on Israeli targets; says they were directed by terror group leaders in Gaza, Lebanon

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

This handout photo from May 8, 2023, shows contraband allegedly belonging to a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terror cell, which is accused of an attempted bombing in the West Bank settlement of Beitar Illit and planning other attacks. (Shin Bet)
This handout photo from May 8, 2023, shows contraband allegedly belonging to a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terror cell, which is accused of an attempted bombing in the West Bank settlement of Beitar Illit and planning other attacks. (Shin Bet)

Members of a Palestinian terror cell accused of attempting to carry out a bombing attack in March and planning further attacks in the West Bank have been arrested, the Shin Bet security agency revealed Monday.

According to the Shin Bet, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine cell was behind the attempted attack on March 9, when a makeshift bomb was planted on a bus in the Beitar Illit settlement.

The explosive malfunctioned at the time and did not cause any injuries. The settlement went into lockdown for several hours as troops searched for the suspects. A day later, the military arrested a Palestinian accused of planting the bomb, along with four others in the West Bank town of Battir.

The Shin Bet on Monday said the PFLP cell planned to carry out additional attacks.

The agency named the six suspects as Wassim Ayuna, Ahmed Abu Naima, Mazen Abdallah, Muhammad al-Barak, Rami al-Ahmar and Nur Mahmoud, from the towns of Battir and Beit Jala, and the Dheisheh refugee camp in the Bethlehem area. It was unclear when they were arrested.

The Shin Bet said the investigation revealed each of the suspects’ involvement in carrying out the bombing attack, from the planning stage, division of duties, recruitment of the suspect who planted the bomb, renting hideout apartments — one of which was used as an explosives lab — the production of the explosives and the purchase of a getaway vehicle.

The six were to be charged with attempted murder, manufacturing explosives, membership in an illegal association, and other security offenses.

This handout photo from May 8, 2023, shows members of a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terror cell that was allegedly behind an attempted bombing in the West Bank settlement on Beitar Illit and planning other attacks. (Shin Bet)

Additionally, an Israeli woman was detained for aiding the suspect who planted the bomb to illegally enter Israeli territory.

The Shin Bet investigation revealed she was unaware of the terrorist’s intentions, but has been indicted for her actions.

The investigation of the terror cell also revealed the involvement of the PFLP leadership in the Gaza Strip and in Lebanon, which allegedly directed the cell to carry out the attempted bombing, as well as attacks by other terror cells, the Shin Bet said.

The Shin Bet said the attempted attack revealed a widespread PFLP terror network in the West Bank, directed by the group’s officials, including members jailed in Israel.

The West Bank PFLP network received funding by the group and were instructed to procure weapons, build explosives, and carry out shooting and bombing attacks against Israeli targets in Israel and the West Bank, the agency said.

The Shin Bet said the network was broken up during a recent wave of arrests in the West Bank, including the six behind the Beitar Illit bombing.

This handout photo from May 8, 2023, shows contraband allegedly belonging to a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terror cell, which is accused of an attempted bombing in the West Bank settlement on Beitar Illit and planning other attacks. (Shin Bet)

The announce of the arrests came as tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have been elvated for the past year, with the IDF conducting near-nightly raids in the West Bank amid a series of deadly Palestinian terror attacks. Those tensions have ramped up even further in recent weeks amid a cycle of Israeli raids and Palestinian revenge attacks, as well as an uptick in settler violence.

Since the beginning of the year, Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank have killed 19 people and left several more seriously hurt. At least 101 Palestinians have been killed during that span, most of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, but some were uninvolved civilians and others were killed under circumstances that are being investigated.

read more:
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed
image
Register for free
and continue reading
Registering also lets you comment on articles and helps us improve your experience. It takes just a few seconds.
Already registered? Enter your email to sign in.
Please use the following structure: example@domain.com
Or Continue with
By registering you agree to the terms and conditions. Once registered, you’ll receive our Daily Edition email for free.
Register to continue
Or Continue with
Log in to continue
Sign in or Register
Or Continue with
check your email
Check your email
We sent an email to you at .
It has a link that will sign you in.