(JNS.org) Israeli security officials averted a large-scale attack by Gaza-based terrorists planning to kidnap and kill an IDF solider.
Mahmoud Yusuf Hasin Abu Taha, a resident of Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip, was arrested as he attempted to enter Israeli territory at the Erez Crossing Sept. 21, officials said Thursday.
“During his investigation, it was learned that he led a terrorist cell guided by Islamic jihad in the Gaza Strip, and had been planning to carry out a large-scale terrorist attack at a wedding hall in the south and to abduct and murder an IDF soldier for bargaining purposes,” security officials reported.
Abu Taha was part of the Islamic jihad organization and had recruited three other Palestinian men living in Southern Israel to assist in carrying out his attack, the Israeli Security Agency (Shin Bet) said in a statement. The three were also arrested along with Abu Taha.
“This grave case underscores – again – the efforts of Gaza Strip-based terrorists to carry out murderous attacks in Israel, in addition to their activities in the Strip,” the Shin Bet stated. “The case also reiterates the manner in which terrorists will exploit humanitarian and economic permits to enter Israel, as well as the risk posed by Palestinians present in Israel illegally.”
Separately, an Israeli-Arab couple from the town of Sakhnin at Ben Gurion Airport were arrested following their return from Iraq, where they look their three children and had joined the Islamic State, security officials said.
“In their investigation, it was learned that before leaving [Israel] they had been exposed to Daesh (Islamic State) content and videos and were deeply influenced,” Shin Bet stated.
“Daesh disseminates mendacious publications designed to construct a distorted image of itself as allowing a good and respectable life under an Islamic regime or, alternatively, of religious and military adventure,” the agency reported. “However, the investigations of Israelis who have returned from Syria and Iraq present a completely opposite picture about the dangers and harsh living conditions under Daesh.”
Last week, security officials announced the arrest and indictment of Muhammad Fauaz Ibrahim Joulani, a 22-year-old resident of Shuafat in eastern Jerusalem, for planning a suicide bombing in Jerusalem. He was only days away from carrying out his plans, detonating himself on a bus in Jerusalem’s Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood.