Israel says Hamas bomb squad arrested

The men planned to make a bomb from plans downloaded from the internet, security services said

epa07765409 Israeli army vehicles at a street in the West Bank village of Beit Kahil, 10 August 2019. According to reports, four suspects, three Palestinian men and a woman from the Palestinian village of Beit Kahil, have been taken into custody after Israeli security forces raided the village as part of a manhunt for the killers of 18-year-old Israeli soldier Dvir Sorek, who was found stabbed to death two days earlier in the Gush Etzion settlement.  EPA/ABED AL HASHLAMOUN
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Israel's domestic intelligence agency said on Wednesday it had arrested three Palestinians accused of being part of a "Hamas terrorist" network plotting bomb attacks on Israeli targets in the occupied West Bank.

Shin Bet said a joint operation with the Israeli army and police led to the arrest last month of Omar Eid, 24, a resident of the West Bank village of Deir Jirir.

Also arrested at the time were Ahmed Sajidiyya, 27, of the Qalandia Palestinian refugee camp and Muhammad Hamad, 26, from nearby Kufr Aqab, both in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem.

The shadowy security agency said the men planned to make a bomb from plans downloaded from the internet and had bought chemicals, nails and other metallic objects for that purpose.

They were arrested "before being able to assemble the explosive device," it added.

Shin Bet said the three first met at Birzeit University, near Ramallah, where they also came into contact with Abd Al Rahman Hamdan, "a senior activist" for the militant group Hamas on the campus, who funded their activities.

The agency also accused the men of past "attempts to carry out bomb attacks" against Israeli soldiers and said they were planning future missions with remotely detonated bombs against Israeli traffic and army posts in the Ramallah area.

They had even weighed up bombing a Jerusalem football stadium during a game but a reconnaissance visit led to the idea being dropped, Shin Bet said.