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Dolphinarium attack
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Car bomb explosion in Qalqilya (archive photo)
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Terror attack foiled
Cleared for publication: After car bomb driven by suicide bomber holding Israeli ID accidentally explodes in West Bank, defense forces uncover Hamas terror plot, arrest 19 members
A major suicide attack on Tel Aviv was prevented this Passover, as Shin Bet and IDF forces arrested 19 Hamas members in the West Bank city of Qalqilya for planning to detonate a car bomb containing some 220 lbs of explosives, it was cleared for publication on Tuesday.

 

Investigations revealed that a would-be suicide bomber, a holder of an Israeli ID obtained through family unification, had already reached the center of the Tel Aviv metropolitan area with the vehicle, but for unknown reasons did not carry out the attack and returned to Qalqilya, where the bomb accidentally exploded.

 

"The discovery of this ring shows that Hamas is actually beginning to realize its strengthening in the form of attacks," said a security source.

 

Following a recent wave of arrests of Hamas members in Qalqilya, it became apparent that the organization's men in the city were working toward committing attacks against Israel's home front as soon as possible, after a period of re-strengthening and building up abilities.

 

The arrests were carried out before Passover, in order to ensure a safe holiday. The IDF and Shin Bet are currently continuing investigations in an effort to thwart further terror activity.

 

The investigations showed that the group was plotting to carry out a number of different attacks in Israel in addition to this car bomb.

 

Defense establishment sources explained that the bomber's ID allowed him easy access in and out of Israel, which enabled him to collect information in the central district, and enabled the group to use his car which had an Israeli license plate.

 

Planning major attack in near future

Monitoring Hamas, the defense establishment noticed that from November 2006, the organization has been concentrating on regaining strength, in the form of rearmament, training, and preparing attacks that could be implemented on short notice.

 

The organization has also been concentrating on upgrading its abilities throughout the West Bank, with the help of Iran and Syria.

 

Information obtained in the investigations showed that Hamas has completed the phase of building power and has moved on to the implementation phase, which includes attacks on Israel's home front.

 

According to the information, the group is still working on planning the execution of major attacks in the near future.

 

Qalqilya's location and its proximity to central cities in Israel, means there is great mobility in and out of the area, and holders of Israeli IDs are allowed to enter and leave the city freely so as not to harm the life fabric of its residents.

 

Defense establishment sources pointed out that this is just another case in which terror groups use members who obtained Israeli IDs through family unification, to commit attacks, collect information and transport terrorists.

 

The Hamas ring which the arrested members belong to was involved in some serious attacks, including the Dolphinarium attack of June 2001.

 

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