Considering the relative calm in the region it appears that the truce between Israel and Hamas is holding steady. Not so, says the Shin Bet, Israel’s security service. According to them, Hamas in Gaza has renewed and even increased efforts to set up terrorist cells in the West Bank, and has ordered new recruits to terrorize Israel with rockets, kidnap and kill a soldier, and to prepare suicide bombings.
The intelligence came partly from the questioning of detained Palestinians who were planning to carry out such missions, the domestic security agency said.
It named Hamas interior minister in Gaza, Fathi Hammad, as the coordinator for many of the plans. Hammad has often called for the continuation of terror attacks in Israel.
“The activities of Hammad – one of the senior leaders of Hamas in Gaza, and an interior minister who is obligated to maintain quiet – is a gross violation of the ceasefire agreement. This also illustrates the extent of the involvement by senior Hamas members in setting up terror attacks against targets in the West Bank and Israel, despite their commitments to Egypt to uphold a truce,” the Shin Bet said.
According to reports, Hamas members from the West Bank revealed that new recruits in touch with Hammad’s associates were planning to plant an explosive, kidnap a soldier or settler, and manufacture and launch rockets.
The new recruits maintained communications with their handlers in Gaza through emails and cell phones. They were trained in how to create weapons, and recruit additional members to their cells.
The terrorists “received concrete instructions to kidnap a soldier, take his ID and cell phone for negotiations, and then kill and bury him at a hideout,” the Shin Bet report said.