Not content with its influence in the Gaza Strip, Hamas terrorists were arrested in the Nablus area trying to establish a terror network there, the Shin Bet announced this week. More than 40 Palestinians involved were arrested over the past few months.
Hamas is the ruling party in the Gaza Strip while rival Fatah controls Palestinian areas in Judea and Samaria. A Palestinian unity government was formed between the two parties last year, a move much condemned by Israel, though its status is rocky due to tensions between the groups.
In addition to establishing the network, the Shin Bet said the suspects were tasked with gathering intelligence to facilitate terrorist attacks across Judea and Samaria. During interrogation, the Shin Bet explained, it appeared Hamas had been increasing its efforts to establish an infrastructure in the region, dividing the area into “sectors” and appointing sector chiefs.
These individuals are responsible for promoting Hamas in the fields of education, economy, communications, propaganda, charity work and financial aid to Palestinian prisoners’ families, as well as intelligence gathering and military interests.
In addition, a separate terrorist cell operating in the Faraa refugee camp near Jenin was discovered. Members there confessed to purchasing military-grade equipment, including night-vision goggles for a future terror attack.
“This investigation once again exposes the great efforts the Hamas leadership, on the ground and overseas, is willing to make to establish a solid, extensive, well-funded and sustainable terrorist infrastructure in Samaria,” the Shin Bet said in a statement.