JERUSALEM – Israel’s General Security Service (GSS) announced yesterday (Feb. 24) that it has arrested 15 Arabs who were members of a Hamas terror cell that operated against civilian traffic on route 443, a major road connecting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
The terrorists, all resident of the village of UR-Tahtah in their late twenties and early thirties, were involved in the throwing of stones and Molotov-cocktails at cars, causing bodily harm and destruction of property. Several members of the cell have previously served prisons terms for similar terror activity. The security on the road became so precarious that Members of Knesset were ordered not to use the route.
The GSS further revealed that the cell was in advanced stages of the testing of roadside explosive devices. Some of the cell members were convicted of the shooting of improvised weapons at civilian targets.
These latest arrests clearly indicate that terrorists who have already been incarcerated return to terror activity and even step-up their activities, a GSS source stated. “Route 443 is a significant traffic artery, and therefore the GSS will continue, in collaboration with the IDF and Israel Police, to operate decisively against any terror activity, which objective is to harm innocent civilians and disrupt the public peace,” the source said.
Rabbi Haim Navon, of Modi’in, was attacked on this route on a Saturday night in March 2013. He told of what he experienced: “I heard a loud slamming noise and the window shattered. I was hit with a large rock. Thank G-d, no one was hurt and the only damage was to my car. A police investigator told me I was not the first to be hit that night. Eight o’clock at night, a major traffic route, on the way to our capital. People I don’t know tried to kill me.”