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Shin Bet Busts Hamas Terror Cell in Hebron


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JERUSALEM, Israel -- The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) lifted a gag order Monday on the arrests of 11 members of a Hamas cell planning a string of terror attacks in Israel.

The Shin Bet and Israel Defense Forces took all 11 into custody last month.

The report named Suhaib Saltan, 20, and his cousin, Salam Abbas Saltan, 28, who's served time in Israeli jails and been held in administrative detention, as prominent figures in the terror cell. It did not release any other names.

According to the report, during questioning both men provided details of attacks they were planning, which included suicide bombings and turned over two machine guns and a cache of explosive devices.

The cousins told of one attack planned for December in Hebron that failed when a small explosive device failed to detonate. The first device was meant to draw soldiers to an area where the terrorists would detonate a bigger, deadlier bomb.

The two men said they'd been tracking some Israelis in Hebron and Jerusalem to carry out terror attacks against them.

The report noted the growing threat of Hamas terror cells in Hebron and the return to terror activities after arrestees were released.

"The activities of this cell reflect the real threat from Hamas activities in Hebron and especially from operatives who have been arrested in the past and then returned to the pool," the Shin Bet said in its statement.

The 11 members will be held until the end of proceedings against them.

Meanwhile, a senior Hamas operative in the Gaza Strip warned of more "surprises" than during last summer's military conflagration with Israel.

Salah Bardaweel told reporters in Gaza it "will startle the enemy more than the surprises" from the last war.

He also accused the United States and Israel of encouraging Egypt to attack Gaza similarly to U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State in Libya.

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