Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar revealed on Tuesday evening that Israeli security forces recently thwarted a Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist cell that had begun manufacturing rockets in the Jenin refugee camp in an attempt to duplicate terrorist rocket launches in Gaza to the Shomron.
Speaking at a press conference with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and IDF Chief of Staff Herzi HaLevi following the security cabinet meeting, Bar said: “In recent weeks, we thwarted a cell in the area of Jenin that had already begun to manufacture rockets and launchers in order to also fire rockets from the territories of Shomron at Israel. We see this as a dangerous precedent. The members of the cell were arrested and they confessed. We have no intention of turning Afula or Shaked [a secular yishuv in northern Shomron] into shooting targets.”
Bar continued: “In recent months, a large number of PIJ terrorists who are responsible for a very large number of warnings of attacks have been arrested. Their arrest prevented the attacks from being carried out. We don’t have time to wait to defend ourselves against the terrorists, we’re acting on the offensive against their dispatchers.”
Referring to one of the three PIJ commanders killed in the first airstrikes of Operation Shield and Arrow, Bar said: “Tareq Izzed-Din was working to replicate the terror in Gaza to Yehudah and Shomron, leading over 20 terrorist cells whose purpose was to harm Israelis. Most of his work was unknown to the public but was well-known to us.”
Bar added that Izzed-Din also recruited a number of terrorists from the Ramallah area and provided them with funds to buy terror material, including a quadcopter, to launch attack drones into Israel.
Bar concluded by noting: “It’s important to say that the PIJ is a terror organization fully funded by Iran. The hands are the hands of Palestinians but the voice is the voice of Iran. We won’t let Iran work against us via its proxies.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)