The Jerusalem Post is reporting serious allegations from the Shin Bet, which Hamas has denied. The Post quotes the Israeli government saying that Hamas is gearing up "terror cells" and suicide bombing operations in the West Bank:
Hamas in Gaza has increased efforts to set up terrorist cells in the West Bank, and ordered new recruits to create and fire rockets at Israel from the West Bank, to kidnap and kill a soldier, and prepare suicide bombings, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said Wednesday...
"[Hamas leader Fathi] Hammad is activating his associates, Hamas members, who work on his behalf, and through the ‘Defenders of Al Aqsa’ group, which was set up by him,” the Shin Bet added...
The intelligence came partly from the questioning of security suspects who have been arrested days before planning to act, the domestic security agency said.
Questioning of security suspects? That's a euphemism for interrogations. Oh and what did those interrogations produce? The Post's report alleges Israel broke up a Defenders of Al Aqsa "terror cell" before it could strike, according to the Shin Bet:
In recent days, Hamas members from the West Bank revealed details on new recruits who were in touch with Hammad’s associates.
The terror cell was made up of residents of the villages of Ras Karkar and Siluad, in the Binyamin region of the West Bank. They were recruited to plant an explosive, kidnap a soldier or settler, and manufacture and launch rockets.
Prior to their arrest, the terrorists sent a message to Gaza saying they were ready to act within days. The arrest prevented impending terror attacks, the Shin Bet added.
Which begs the question, under what circumstances did Hamas members reveal details on new recruits to the Shin Bet? Did this have anything to do with the Hamas members caught up in the sweeps reported last month, in which Israeli forces arrested dozens of Hamas members and sympathizers in the West bank including lawmakers during pre-dawn raids? At the time senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi said these arrests were aimed at dealing a blow to national reconciliations. But Israel claimed they had stepped up arrests to "prevent a rising tide of low-intensity conflict and civil unrest from turning into an uprising."
And in that same report, back on February 9, we picked up a very similar allegation to Shin Bet's freshest revelation: an impending "terror attack" involving the al-Aqsa Brigade. In the earlier case, that allegation went, virally, from an Israeli military blog to a congressional report on alleged Palestinian activities by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (the born-of-AIPAC think tank):
An Israel military blog that [WINEP's Matthew] Levitt cited in his testimony is crowing that on Jan 27, Israeli soldiers “thwarted a significant terror attack on an Israeli community” — Israelis intercept a hand-written communique with intent to carry out a terror attack at the scene of some Palestinians hurling firebombs.
The alleged communique responsible for this 'revelation' begs its own authenticity, for it states, remarkably "The al-Aqsa Brigade is announcing the operation before its implementation." (photo below). Here's the text:
“The al-Aqsa Brigade takes full responsibility for the terror attack in the Alon Moreh community. The al-Aqsa Brigade is announcing the operation before its implementation. If the operation has failed, it will be repeated additional times in a wider manner — every minute, every hour, every moment — starting today.”
– Al-Aqsa Brigade, Arrows of Freedom Group
Two major terror attacks in less than two months thwarted by Israel, allegedly. One partly revealed by "questioning" that you have to wonder if it didn't involve torture. Another by intercepting a hand written document at the scene of a crime (and then passing the evidence along to the Israel lobby in Washington).
The cycle continues: Israel, which claims it is trying to prevent an uprising, launched arrest raids across West Bank last night, and has been killing Palestinian activists with deadly ammunition. Is Israel preventing attacks, or provoking an uprising? You be the judge.
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hamas on Wednesday denied claims by Israel's Shin Bet security agency that it is planning operations against Israel in the West Bank.
Shin Bet said Wednesday that Gaza's Interior Minister Fathi Hammad was behind efforts to launch attacks from the West Bank, The Jerusalem Post reported.
Interior Ministry spokesman Islam Shahwan said the Israeli claims were related to a Hamas crackdown on collaborators.
"Accusing the Minister of Interior Fathi Hammad of planning operations in the West Bank is an attempt to avert the eyes of the public off Hamas' campaign against collaborators," Shahwan told Ma'an.
He added that Israel's intelligence agency had telephoned some of its informers in Gaza and told them not to hand themselves in. On Tuesday, Hamas said it had a list of collaborators working in Gaza and offered an amnesty to those who surrendered by April 11.