Israeli security forces uncovered a massive terror plot to attack Jewish worshipers at a holy site near Nablus, the Shin Bet cleared for publication late Tuesday.
A four-man Palestinian terror cell planned to bomb and shoot Jewish visitors to Joseph’s Tomb, located on the outskirts of Nablus.
The Shin Bet said in a statement that the cell was armed by the Gaza-based Islamic Jihad terror group. The four terrorists took their directives from Islamic Jihad officials based in Gaza and showed a professional level of organization.
According to an interrogation of the suspects, the cell was compartmentalized, where each terrorist was unaware of the identity of the others and the specific tasks they held.
The four terrorists were identified as Nassim Damiri, 30, of Tulkarem, a Fatah sympathizer who has been jailed several times; Mahmed Damiri, 23, of Tulkarem, a Palestinian Authority police officer; Yasser Tzarawi, 25, of Rafidia, a known Hamas terrorists who was also jailed in the past; and Adwan Nazel, 24, of Qabatiya, a member of Islamic Jihad.
Joseph’s Tomb is under the jurisdiction of the PA. Jewish worshipers are only allowed access to the holy site once per month. Visits are coordinated with Israeli security officials and worshipers are under heavy IDF guard the entire time.
The terror cell planned to attack the tomb when Jewish visitors sneak in to pray outside of the monthly permitted visit.
According to the Shin Bet, Tzarawi and Nazel were responsible for obtaining weapons and providing logistical support, surveillance and cover during the attack. The Damiri cousins were to carry out the actual attack.
The burial site of Joseph has been a site of Israeli-Palestinian tensions in the past.