November 22, 2021
Members of Martyr Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades take part in a memorial service for al-Qassam member Raed al-Rantisi, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on November 15, 2021. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
The cell was led by Saleh al-Arouri, a senior leader in the terror group in the West Bank
Israel's Shin Bet security agency announced on Monday that over 50 Hamas operatives suspected of planning terror attacks were arrested in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
The effort to uncover the cell was ongoing for several months, with the first round of initial arrest raids in September, according to Times of Israel.
The arrests were made in a number of locations in the West Bank, including during the major raid on September 26 this year. Images released by the Shin Bet shows some of the cell's equipment. pic.twitter.com/svHxA0w1F1— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) November 22, 2021
"You thwarted a large infrastructure, some of which you know was ready to go with explosive belts or more, also grenades and other explosives," IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi told the military commanders whose units took part in the raids, Times of Israel reported.
According to Shin Bet, the cell was led by Saleh al-Arouri, a senior leader in the terror group in the West Bank who lives in Turkey. He worked abroad with additional Hamas members.
Al-Arouri invested hundreds of thousands of shekels into the cell's activities and offered a prize of $1 million if the cell carried out a kidnapping successfully.
"This was a major preventative effort that thwarted dangerous terrorist infrastructure, which was planning serious attacks. The goal of the terrorist activities, which were undertaken by Hamas operatives abroad and in Gaza with operatives in the territory of the West Bank, was to destabilize the region, while exacting a heavy price from local residents," a senior Shin Bet officer said, according to Times of Israel.
This report comes a day after a shooting in Jerusalem's Old City killed one and wounded four.