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Three Palestinian women with Islamic Jihad ties charged for planned shooting

Suspects were arrested at West Bank checkpoint in August with loaded gun, had sought to avenge Israel’s killing of senior terror operative in Nablus, Shin Bet investigation reveals

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

Tahrir Abu Sariya, Maryam Arafat and Alaa Abu Dhraa, accused of planning a shooting attack against Israeli security forces in the West Bank on August 20, 2022. (Social media: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Tahrir Abu Sariya, Maryam Arafat and Alaa Abu Dhraa, accused of planning a shooting attack against Israeli security forces in the West Bank on August 20, 2022. (Social media: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Three Palestinian women from Nablus with ties to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group were charged this week over plans to commit a shooting attack against Israeli security forces in the West Bank.

On August 20, Tahrir Abu Sariya, Maryam Arafat and Alaa Abu Dhraa were detained by Defense Ministry security guards at the Eliyahu Crossing, near Qalqilya. A loaded makeshift “Carlo” submachine gun was found in the trunk of their car.

The Kan public broadcaster reported Tuesday that the cell, headed by 29-year-old Abu Sariya, sought to commit an attack following the killing of senior al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade member Ibrahim al-Nabulsi by Israeli security forces earlier that month.

The Shin Bet security agency confirmed the details of the report to The Times of Israel.

According to the Shin Bet’s investigation, Abu Sariya recruited the other two women before making contact with a terror operative in the Gaza Strip and an Islamic Jihad operative in Nablus, who helped them purchase weapons for the attack.

The trio allegedly filmed themselves wearing Islamic Jihad headbands and declaring their intention to die, and sent the video to the Gaza-based operative.

A makeshift ‘Carlo’ submachine gun found in a car at the Eliyahu Crossing in the West Bank, August 20, 2022. (Defense Ministry)

On the day of the planned attack in August, the three opened fire at a military post near the West Bank settlement of Kedumim after apparently spotting a soldier stationed there. However, the gun jammed, and they fled the scene, seeking another target, according to the investigation.

The Nablus women apparently got lost looking for another target, and ended up at the Eliyahu Crossing. The three women did not have permits to enter Israel, and their car with Palestinian license plates would not have been able to cross the checkpoint.

The women were charged over the shooting and planned attack, and will remain in custody until the end of legal proceedings.

The incident came amid high tensions in the West Bank, as Israeli security forces have pressed on with a months-long anti-terror offensive.

The military’s operation has made more than 2,000 arrests in near-nightly raids, but has also left over 125 Palestinians dead, many of them — but not all — while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces.

The anti-terror offensive in the West Bank was launched following a series of Palestinian attacks that killed 19 people in the spring of this year.

An Israeli man was killed in an attack in Hebron last month, a woman was killed in Holon in a suspected attack in September, and four soldiers have been killed in the West Bank in attacks and during the arrest operations.

On Tuesday, a man died from wounds he sustained in a stabbing attack in a Palestinian village in October.

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