The Shin Bet security agency on Friday said it foiled an attempt by the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group to carry out a bombing attack on the day of Israel’s recent elections using two Arab Israeli men.
Several weeks ago Mohammed Amin Muslah, 24, and Mohammed Faid Mahmeed, 28, both residents of the northern village of Mu’awiya, were detained over their involvement in the plot.
According to the Shin Bet, Muslah was recruited by the military wing of Hamas, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, to carry out a bombing against civilians when Israelis went to the polls on November 1.
Muslah then recruited his friend Mahmeed to carry out the attack, but at some point, the pair cut ties with Hamas over disagreements regarding the target, the agency said.
The Shin Bet said Hamas was adamant that they target civilians, but the two men wanted to attack soldiers.
Muslah and Mahmeed then allegedly worked to carry out a shooting attack against soldiers, including snatching soldiers’ guns to continue a deadly attack.
The pair conducted surveillance operations at several bus stops frequented by soldiers between the town of Binyamina-Giv’at Ada and Kafr Qara, practiced with a makeshift “Carlo” submachine gun, and sought to find a stolen car for the attack, according to the Shin Bet.
Ultimately, the pair picked a bus stop outside the Golani training base, near Kafr Qara, as their target, “since this stop is packed with IDF soldiers mainly on Thursdays,” the security agency said.
Indictments filed against the pair on Friday charged them with contact with a foreign agent, providing services or means to a terror organization, conspiracy to commit a terrorist act of murder under aggravated circumstances, weapons offenses, and using a firearm, among other charges.
The agency warned that Hamas was increasingly trying to carry out attacks in the West Bank and Israel.
“The investigation of the affair reveals once again the fact that Hamas in the Gaza Strip exploits the Arab citizens of Israel and recruits them for the purpose of promoting terror activities in Israeli territory while harming the fabric of their lives in Israeli society,” the Shin Bet said.
The arrests came at a time of rising violence in the West Bank, with the IDF pressing on with an anti-terror offensive to deal with a series of attacks that left 31 people in Israel dead in 2022, and seven more in an attack last weekend.
The IDF’s operation has netted more than 2,500 arrests in near-nightly raids. It also left 171 Palestinians dead in 2022, and another 35 since the beginning of the year, many of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, though some were uninvolved civilians.