(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Cooperation between the Israeli Shin Bet security agency, the Israel Defense Forces, and the Israel Police thwarted a shooting attack that was planned by a terrorist cell in the Tulkarem area headed by Mahmoud Zaalul, who was taking orders from the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah. Five of the cell members suspected of involvement in terrorist activity were arrested.
When the suspects were interrogated, the Shin Bet discovered that Jouad Nasrallah, son of Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, had used the Internet to enlist Zaalul, a Palestinian from Tulkarem.
Zaalul reported directly to a Hezbollah operative named “Fadi,” who instructed him to open an email account. After doing so, Zaalul received instructions to enlist other cell members and work on collecting information to be used to plan terrorist attacks.
The cell was instructed, among other things, to set up a secret network according to certain parameters, via which they eventually received instructions to execute attacks using explosive belts, train suicide bombers, collect information about training camps, and more.
The suspects were also instructed to keep tabs on and collect information about security forces operating in the area. Cell members requested assistance from Hezbollah in acquiring weapons and money to carry out the attack.
To that end, Hezbollah transferred $5,000 to the cell in the form of foreign currency transfers. Two of the suspects—Muhammad Massawareh and Ahmed Abu al-Az—bought weapons from Zaalul with the intention of attacking Israeli security forces, but were arrested in possession of the weapons before they could act on their plan. The weapons were surrendered during their interrogation.
The five suspects have been indicted in a Samaria military court on counts including membership in an illegal organization; contact with the enemy; funneling enemy funds into the region; intent and involvement in manslaughter; weapons dealing; intent to shoot at people; and interfering with legal proceedings.