Hamas Cell that Planned Hit on MK Ben Gvir, Attacks in Jerusalem, Captured by Israeli Forces

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MK Itamar Ben-Gvir, the leader of the Israeli far-right Otzma Yehudit party, arrives at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem before his visit to the Temple Mount after receiving approval from the Israeli police. Jerusalem, Mar 31, 2022. Photo by Shalev Shalom/TPS
By Aryeh Savir/TPS • 24 May, 2022

Jerusalem, 24 May, 2022 (TPS) — Israel’s combined security forces exposed and captured a Hamas terror cell, residents of eastern Jerusalem, who planned to carry out attacks on targets in Jerusalem, including the assassination of Member of Knesset Itamar Ben Gvir, the Shin Bet revealed Tuesday.

The terror cell purchased a small quadcopter for the purpose of arming it and carrying out an attack against the light rail system in Jerusalem.

According to the Shin Bet’s investigation, the squad was led by Rashid Rashak, a prominent Hamas operative living in the Old City of Jerusalem, who planned together with Mansour Tzafadi, a Hamas operative from Abu Tor, shooting, abduction, or suicide attacks in Jerusalem.

Tzafdi equipped himself with two M16 Airsoft rifles, and trained and instructed his squad members to use the guns.

The investigation also revealed that members of the cell planned to hide in Hebron or Jenin after committing the terrorist attacks they planned.

Rashak established a network of terrorists in Jerusalem whose goal was to instigate riots in the city’s eastern neighborhoods and on the Temple Mount during the last month of Ramadan, to destabilize the Temple Mount and Jerusalem. The operatives transferred massive quantities of fireworks to be launched at Israeli forces, as well as Hamas flags and ribbons for use during the riots.

In early April, Tzafadi was arrested on his way to the Temple Mount to take part in clashes with security forces or Jews visiting the holy complex.

The Israeli forces arrested a number of suspects, Hamas operatives and residents of eastern Jerusalem. The quadcopter, a camera to be used to photograph the hostages, funds, and Hamas organizational equipment were seized.

Indictments were filed on Tuesday by the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office against those involved. The indictment attributes to the defendants the offenses of conspiracy to commit aggravated murder and kidnapping for the purpose of extortion, training or instruction for terrorist purposes, conspiracy to commit terrorist acts with explosive materials, preparation to commit sabotage, providing means to commit a crime, membership in a terrorist organization, weapons offenses, attempted assault on a police officer in aggravated circumstances, and rioting.

The Shin Bet and the Israel Police “will continue to act resolutely in order to bring to justice those involved in all terrorist activities in general and in the city of Jerusalem in particular,” they stated.

Ben Gvir stated in response that “words can kill,” and called on Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, and the left to “stop the incitement against me.”

After the increase in threats against Ben Gvir, the Knesset Guard now secures Ben Gvir around the clock at a level similar to that given to a government minister.

“It is no secret that for all the last few months, Lapid and Bennett have been inciting against me. For example, Lapid called me a descendant of Yigal Amir and Bennett is trying to take me out of the realm of legitimacy. Haaretz devotes a column against me every morning – the left must know that words can kill,” he stated.

Ben Gvir thanked the security forces and said he expects them to “continue to investigate the hundreds of incitement calls against me and to prosecute the instigators, intimidators, and their senders. I will not be deterred by threats and assassination plots and I will continue to act in the just struggles for the people of Israel. “

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