Israel’s Shin Bet security service said on Tuesday that it has thwarted a large bomb attack attempt in Jerusalem after exposing a Hamas cell in the West Bank.
The service said in a statement that the cell had operated in the area of Hebron, a Palestinian city south of Jerusalem. Its members manufactured a three-kilogram explosive device, attached with dozens of metal pieces to enhance the damage during the explosion.
The device was planned to be used in a bomb attack in Jerusalem, the Shin Bet said.
The investigation indicated that Hamas members in the Gaza Strip orchestrated the planning.
Palestinians in the West Bank were recruited by Hamas and “instructed to establish cells to carry out kidnapping, shooting, and stabbing attacks, to purchase weapons and recruit additional activists to carry out terrorist operations,” the statement said.
Following the investigation, the police arrested in June Tamer Rajah Rajbi, a 22-year-old student in the Hebron Polytechnic collage, who is suspected of being recruited to manufacture explosives in an explosive lab constructed by him.
A senior Shin Bet official said that the military wing of Hamas in Gaza has been putting “considerable efforts to establish terrorist infrastructure for perpetrating terrorist attacks in the West Bank and Israel in order to undermine regional stability.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commended on Twitter the security forces for thwarting the attack.
“Our enemies should know that our long arm will reach whoever tries to attack us,” he wrote.
The cell was the most recent in several other Hamas-operated groups which Israeli forces uncovered in the West Bank over the past weeks.