(February 18, 2018 / Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS) A recent plot by Palestinian terrorists to assassinate Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman was thwarted in a joint Shin Bet security agency, IDF and police operation, it was cleared for publication Sunday after a court-issued gag order was lifted.
According to the security agency, an Islamic Jihad terrorist cell had planned to place a bomb on a road which the defense minister’s convoy was expected to travel.
A separate Islamic Jihad cell, the Shin Bet said, had also been recruited and operated near Bethlehem in Judea and Samaria, with the goal of perpetrating shooting attacks against Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers in the Gush Etzion area.
Six suspects in total were arrested, two of whom had previously spent time in Israeli prison or in administrative custody for terror-related activity.
Investigators learned that members of the cell seeking to assassinate the defense minister had sought to purchase explosive materials and had even turned to terrorist elements in the Gaza Strip for funding.
After failing to secure the explosive materials, the cell members assembled a fake bomb in order to receive funding to carry out additional attacks, as well as earn recognition for their work. The fake bomb was handed over to the authorities upon their arrest.
One member of the terror cell, the Shin Bet said, similar to other Palestinian youths in the Bethlehem sector, was motivated among other things by the desire to be arrested and receive a prisoner’s pension from Islamic Jihad.
As stated, the terrorist cells’ activities were pinpointed and stopped in their early planning stages. The terror suspects were expected to be indicted Sunday at the Judea military court.
In 2014, members of a Hamas terror cell were arrested for planning to assassinate Lieberman, who was foreign minister at the time, by targeting his vehicle using rocket-propelled grenades.