Three men affiliated with the Islamic State terror group, who had planned to carry out further terror attacks in Israel, were recently arrested by the country’s Shin Bet security agency, officials announced on Sunday.
The ISIS terror cell, which had previously been responsible for detonating a bomb aimed at IDF soldiers, planned to carry out a series of further terror attacks in November. The Shin Bet (Israel’s equivalent of the FBI) said they were all residents of Hebron, a city in the disputed territories that is the largest Palestinian governorate area.
Israeli officials said one of the cell members, Ahmed Shahada, 22, revealed he had set up the Islamic State terror cell with two others, the Jerusalem Post reported. Muhammad Zaro, 21, and Qassai Div Masawada, 23, were named as the two additional suspects in the ISIS terror cell investigation. The cell is the first publicly-indicted Palestinian cell linked to the Islamic State jihad in Iraq and Syria.
A Shin Bet statement read, “They planned to murder an IDF soldier and use his weapon and uniform to carry out a shooting attack.” The cell had also planned on attacking a Palestinian Authority police station. The Shin Bet did not elaborate on whether the group had contact with Islamic State officials, or if they had simply identified with the ideology of the Islamic State.
Officials said that the three men began to meet and plot their jihad in the middle of the summer. Israeli forces were heavily occupied over the summer in a 50-day war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Separately, in November, A Palestinian cleric delivered a sermon at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, calling for fellow Muslims to support ISIS and defeat the U.S.-led coalition against the terror group. The cleric preached to fellow Muslims, “Oh Allah, annihilate America and its coalition. Oh Allah, enable us to cut off their heads. Oh Allah, help our brothers, the mujahideen in the land of Iraq and Syria.”