The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) and the IDF in November busted what it revealed Sunday was a three-member Islamic State (IS) terror cell in Chevron, Israel’s Walla News reported, as the army said it has ratcheted up surveillance of the growing regional threat.
Officials said they suspected the trio of planning to carry out attacks in Israel including bombings against the IDF. One of the detainees admitted to planning to kill a local Jewish resident at nearby “Abraham’s Well.”
Ahmed Wadeh Salah Shehadeh, 22, Muhammad Fayyad Abd al-Qader, 21, and Ktzai Ibrahim Dib Maswadeh, 23 admitted to interrogators that they had established the military cell, constructed several bombs, and plotted to kill an Israeli soldier and use his weapons and uniform in a shooting attack.
The cell had actually set off to perpetrate the attack, but did not follow through for reasons not detailed in the report.
Their cases were transferred to court in recent days for indictment on offenses of membership and activity in an unlawful association, and other, unspecified charges.
Also on Sunday, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported that army intelligence recently dedicated a separate force to exclusively focus on IS activities, particularly across social media.
“We have made adjustments inside the IDF’s intelligence-collecting units because we came to the understanding that IS is breaking historic boundaries,” the commander of the “Hatzav,” intelligence unit said.
“Most of the information we gather comes from the internet; IS does not belong to a particular region in which we may have sources,” he noted.
Previously, the IDF primarily tracked IS via its division in charge of Syria. However, senior officials soon began to understand that the organization was a unique phenomena.
“Once we saw the first beheading videos we understood IS was something new, never seen before,” according to the unit commander.
“The IDF is deeply concerned with the fact that IS’s videos affect the Palestinian public which is very frustrated with its leadership; we are following this potential phenomenon closely,” the senior official said.
The recent arrests in Chevron apparently bear out that warning about the emerging threat.