By: YAAKOV LAPPIN
Israeli security forces announced on Monday that they had broke up two terrorist cells in the West Bank.
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said Monday that it arrested a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorism cell in recent weeks. The cell is suspected of being behind a gun and grenade attack on an IDF post in the West Bank.
The attack occurred on February 25 near the Palestinian village of Bir Zeit, north of Ramallah.
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said a prominent security suspect, Fadi Musa Washaha, 27, confessed to carrying out the attack together with an accomplice, Muataz Washaha, 24 who acted as a lookout.
Muataz Washaha was killed on February 27 during an attempt by security forces to arrest him in Bir Zeit, following a lengthy standoff.
Security forces arrested Fadi Musa Washaha in counter-terrorism raids, who later surrendered a homemade rifle to the Shin Bet.
Fadi Musa Washaha has served multiple prison sentences in the past for terrorism offenses.
Prior to the attack on the IDF post, Fadi Musa Washaha said, he and his accomplice held training exercises with the rifle.
After firing on the post, both suspects fled to the village of Bir Zeit, where security forces caught up with them a few days later.
In the days after Muataz Washaha's death, the PFLP's regional commander held a "military funeral" for him, the Shin Bet said, adding that the Governor of Ramallah, Leila Ghnaem, took part, and that the Palestinian Authority condemned Israel for the counter-terrorism raid.
"In this context, we would like to stress the high motivation terror organizations have to promote attacks on the ground on military targets, as well the threat level from the PFLP organization, whose members are working on attacks against Israeli targets," the Shin Bet said.
Shin Bet arrests Nablus shooting attack cell
The security forces also announced on Monday that the Shin Bet and IDF arrested a terrorism cell from Nablus that launched a gun and bomb attack on Israeli civilian vehicles in Samaria.
The arrests occurred in January, and targeted security suspects who fired on an Israeli car at Jit Junction, near the settlement of Kedumim, on January 15, and who threw an explosive device at a second Israeli vehicle.
The vehicle fired upon was damaged, but the driver escaped the attack without injuries.
"Our investigation found that in the months prior to the attack, the cell was involved in two failed shooting attacks in the area. The attacks failed despite the fact that the cell's members gathered intelligence prior to the shooting, and trained in firearms," the Shin Bet said.
During security raids, the IDF and Shin Bet seized a firearm used in the attack, security forces added.
Additional members of the terror cell have been arrested by the Palestinian Authority's security forces, and remain in custody.
The domestic intelligence agency said five members of the terrorism cell are in Israeli custody, including two central suspects, Abd Naif Shahshir, 23, and Jihad Adel Shahshir, 25.
Three additional suspects involved in previous attempted terror attacks are among those arrested.
"Their arrest, days after the attack at Jit Junction, prevented the continued consolidation of a military cell that carried out a number of attempts in recent months to harm Israeli civilians in the Samaria region," the Shin Bet added.