JERUSALEM – Israel uncovered a West Bank network of Hamas militants planning a series of large-scale attacks against Israelis in Jerusalem and other locations, the country’s domestic security agency said Thursday.
The targets were to include Jerusalem’s soccer stadium and light-rail system, and the militants also were instructed to abduct Israelis in the West Bank and abroad, and carry out car bombings and other attacks, according to Shin Bet, the agency.
The plot was exposed in an investigation sparked by a two bombs set off by a timer in the West Bank in late August, the agency reported to local media and on its website. The blasts caused no injuries.
Officials said the investigation led to the arrest of more than 30 suspects, most of whom were recruited by Hamas in Jordan as early as 2012 and received military training in various locations, including Jordan, Syria, Turkey and the Gaza Strip.
Several weapons, including firearms and bomb components, also were recovered, the officials said.
There was no immediate response from Hamas to the arrests.
According to Shin Bet, the reported plots and other exposed networks showed that militant Islamic movement Hamas wants to rehabilitate its military infrastructure in the West Bank to challenge both Israel and President Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority, which rules the West Bank.
Hamas forcefully wrested control of the Gaza Strip from the Palestinian Authority in 2007. Despite a reconciliation accord signed this year between Hamas and Abbas’ Fatah movement, mutual mistrust persists.
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