Jerusalem: Israel have arrested five Palestinians in the past two months for plotting to carry out a string of terror attacks in Israel, including a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, the Shin Bet, the Jewish state’s domestic security service, said Monday.
One of the suspects was identified as Yasmin Sha’aban, a 31-year-old woman from the West Bank city of Jenin whom the Shin Bet said was a designated suicide bomber, Xinhua reported.
Sha’aban was planning to obtain an entry permit into Israel for medical reasons. Once in the country, she was supposed to impersonate a pregnant Jewish woman, which would have enabled her to conceal a suicide vest and detonate it at a crowded public venue, the Shin Bet said in a statement issued after a gag order was rescinded.
The cell’s other members have been named as Manadel Taqiz, Maatez Taqiz, Abed al-Halek Masimi and Marwan Tzdeki, all in their early 20s and residents of Attil, a village in the West Bank.
They confessed to planning the suicide bombing and other attacks, including a shooting attack, bombing a bus carrying soldiers and abducting a soldier. They told Shin Bet interrogators that they had received instruction on assembling an explosive vest from a member of one of Gaza’s militant groups, the intelligence agency said.
The agency added that its investigations also revealed that Hamas and Islamic Jihad planned to claim joint responsibility for the suicide attack.
However, it remained uncertain whether the West Bank cell received its orders from the leaderships of those organizations and if they had been aware of the bombing plot.
During the arrests in October and November, security forces confiscated from the suspects’ homes an improvised M-16 rifle, a hunting rifle, ammunition and explosive materials.
Sha’aban, the would-be suicide bomber, and Manadel Taqiz have been indicted at a military court in the West Bank. They were charged with conspiracy to commit murder and other terrorism offences and joining an illegal association, while indictments against the other suspects are pending, according to the Shin Bet.