In a statement released by the Shin Bet, the attack, which was to be carried out against soldiers in Israel's southern Negev, was planned in retaliation for the government declaring the organization illegal in the last year.
According to the Shin Bet, the operatives that were arrested—all Israeli Arabs—were in the advanced stages of planning the attack and had gathered intelligence on the movements of IDF soldiers in transportation stations and even acquired a submachine gun with which to carry out the shooting. In addition they had purchased bomb-detonating devices.
Indictments against two of the three suspects, Firas al-Omri and Mahmoud Lawisi, were filed several weeks ago over crimes against state security.
The arrest of Lawisi led to the renewal of the investigation into the attack, and in the context of the renewed investigation, Faras al-Omri, 45, a senior activist in the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, was also arrested. In the interrogation, it became clear that al-Omri was the one from whom the members of the cell had requested permission to carry out the attack plan.
An investigation into the case revealed that in the second half of November 2015, Masri and Lawisi came to the protest tent in Umm al-Fahm, which was established following the outlawing of the Islamic Movement. Al-Omri spoke with the two in private and asked to enlist them to protest against the decision by spraying slogans. Later on, the three concluded that it was not enough to spray slogans and decided to carry out a terrorist attack in Israel.
"The northern branch of the Islamic Movement has maintained close ties with Hamas over the years. The investigation showed that the common ideological basis and the deep connection that exists between the terrorists in both organizations carries a great security risk, with an emphasis on (replacing) alleged humanitarian activities with carrying out terror attacks," said the Shin Bet.
"The Shin Bet emphasizes that law enforcement will continue to take all necessary steps to enforce the declaration of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement as a terrorist organization, with an emphasis on preventing any activity on behalf of the faction in light of the danger it poses to the security of the state."