The Shin Bet security forces announced Monday that it had arrested five Palestinians suspected of being part of a “grass roots terrorist cell” active in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
As part of a joint on-going investigation between the Shin Bet and the Israeli police, the five suspects were arrested in the Arab neighborhood of Ras al-Amud in East Jerusalem in October. However, security concerns and the fact that the investigation was still active prevented the disclosure of the operation until recently.
The five suspects were all between the ages of 16 and 22. The names of the three older suspects have been released, but the two younger ones, aged 16 and 17, are considered minors and cannot be identified in the press.
The three older suspects were identified as brothers Hamza Najjar, 22, and Islam Najjar, 18, and Nader Nasser, 22.
All five of the terrorists had been involved in numerous rock- and firework- throwing and fire-bombing attacks against Jewish and Israeli civilians, IDF soldiers, and police since the current wave of unrest began in September.
The two minors were specifically linked to an incident in which an Egged bus was set on fire in East Jerusalem and its driver attacked. According to the Shin Bet, the terrorists confessed, telling investigators that “the bus driver fled from the scene, and they poured gasoline on the front of the bus and torched it until it burned to the ground.”
In another instance, the Shin Bet discovered that during riots in the East Jerusalem neighborhood, the terrorists “would block the road with garbage cans and cut off the power, in order to draw in police forces and then attack them with firebombs.”
The suspects have been indicted for multiple crimes, including arson, attempted arson, rioting, attempted assault of a police officer, tampering with evidence, intent to commit a crime, and other felonies.
Also on Monday afternoon, two would-be female Palestinian terrorists were arrested, one in Hebron and one in Jerusalem. In Hebron, which has become a central point in the recent terror wave, IDF soldiers arrested a woman who brandished a knife while being checked at an army post.
In Jerusalem, a 16-year-old Palestinian girl was arrested in the Old City near the entrance to the Jewish Quarter when police officers found a knife in her purse. The officers had noticed the suspect behaving strangely and approached her for questioning, upon which they found the knife and arrested her.