ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 146

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Shin Bet busts Gaza-directed terror cell planning shooting, bombing attacks

Agency says 2 West Bank Palestinians detained days ahead of carrying out ‘significant’ shooting in Jerusalem for Popular Resistance Committees, along with 2 recruited for bombing

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

Guns seized from two Palestinians who are accused of planning to carry out a shooting attack in Jerusalem, in a handout photo from the Shin Bet published March 21, 2023. (Shin Bet)
Guns seized from two Palestinians who are accused of planning to carry out a shooting attack in Jerusalem, in a handout photo from the Shin Bet published March 21, 2023. (Shin Bet)

Four Palestinians from the West Bank who were allegedly recruited by a terror group in the Gaza Strip to carry out major attacks were detained in recent weeks, the Shin Bet security agency said Tuesday.

Two of the alleged cell members were recently detained over plans to carry out a “significant” shooting attack in Jerusalem in the coming days, the Shin Bet said. Guns the pair were planning to use were also seized.

And last month, the agency said, two Palestinian brothers were detained for allegedly being recruited to carry out a bombing attack in Israel.

The four suspects were not named.

According to the Shin Bet, young Palestinians are being recruited by Amin Zakot, 31, and Sabari Aram, 40, members of the Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees, who provide them with training and weapons to carry out terror attacks.

In December, the Shin Bet said the Popular Resistance Committees was recruiting Palestinians in the West Bank to carry out a major bombing attack in Israel. A primed explosive was seized. The agency also named Zakot and Aram at the time as being involved in the plans.

Amin Zakot, 31, (left) and Sabari Aram, 40, (right) members of the Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees, accused of recruiting Palestinians in the West Bank to carry out terror attacks. (Shin Bet)

The Shin Bet said the recent attempts by the Popular Resistance Committees were monitored “in all stages of planning and were uncovered ahead of the execution of the attacks.”

The Popular Resistance Committees are funded and supported by the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group, according to the Shin Bet.

“The Shin Bet considers the Hamas terror group to be responsible for all terror activity emanating from the Gaza Strip, and will continue to work, all the more forcefully, to thwart any attempt by terror elements to advance military activity against the State of Israel,” the agency said.

The arrests came at a time of rising violence in the West Bank, with the IDF pressing on with near-nightly raids amid a series of deadly Palestinian terror attacks.

Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank in recent months have left 15 people dead — almost all of them Israelis — and several more seriously hurt.

At least 85 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the year, most of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, though some were uninvolved civilians and others were killed under circumstances that are being investigated.

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