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Opinion

Gaza’s Popular Resistance Committees attempts to establish a foothold in Judea and Samaria

The group has ties to Hezbollah and Iran.

Clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces in the village of Kfar Qaddum, near Nablus, on Feb. 11, 2022. Photo by Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90.
    
Clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces in the village of Kfar Qaddum, near Nablus, on Feb. 11, 2022. Photo by Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90.     
Joe Truzman
Joe Truzman

On Tuesday, the Shin Bet said that in recent weeks it arrested four Palestinians in Judea and Samaria who were attempting to carry out attacks against Israeli targets. The Shin Bet alleged that the Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) recruited and directed the suspects.

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Long War Journal has tracked the PRC’s movements in Judea and Samaria since March 3 and reported the group’s attempt to establish a foothold in Jenin.

The Shin Bet alleges Iman Zakot and Mohammed Aram—both residents of Rafah and members of the PRC—recruited Palestinians living in Judea and Samaria. The pair provided recruits with training and instructions on carrying out operations against Israeli targets, including smuggling weapons into the area.

During the investigation of two Palestinian suspects, it was uncovered that they had received a firearm and direction from the PRC to carry out a shooting attack in Jerusalem, according to the Shin Bet.

Last month, the Shin Bet arrested two additional Palestinian suspects. The Shin Bet alleges the pair were planning to carry out a bombing on behalf of the PRC.

It’s unclear to what extent the PRC has established itself in Judea and Samaria. Open-source evidence shows the group appears to be active in Jenin, where fighters have participated in meetings with established militant organizations such as Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

The PRC’s official media channels have yet to claim that they have established a formation in Judea and Samaria. For now, online channels claiming affiliation with the PRC’s Jenin branch publish evidence of the group’s activity. Despite official channels not mentioning the group’s alleged activities in Judea and Samaria, evidence is mounting that they are active.

On Dec. 26, the Shin Bet alleged it foiled a bomb strike directed by the PRC and Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. On March 4, a video claiming to be published by the group’s fighters in Jenin showed an IED exploding at an unidentified location in Judea and Samaria.

The PRC is the third-largest militant organization behind Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Despite other Gaza-based terrorist groups’ activity, the PRC has not demonstrated interest in destabilizing Judea and Samaria until recently.

The group has proven ties to Hezbollah and Iran. Additionally, it has an extensive history of bombing and rocket attacks against Israelis and Americans.

The U.S. government has not enacted sanctions on the PRC despite attacks against civilians.

Joe Truzman is a contributor to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Long War Journal. Follow him on Twitter @JoeTruzman.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.

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