The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) this month foiled a suicide bombing and kidnapping of an IDF soldier by a Hamas-operated cell based in Gaza Strip when it arrested the alleged bomber, the agency said in a statement on Wednesday.
The terrorist cell, headed by Muhammad abu Adra, reportedly planned to infiltrate Israel as part of a larger plot that also included firing anti-tank missiles at IDF bases in the Negev.
The plot and the subsequent arrest of one of the would-be perpetrators was under wraps due to a gag order, which was lifted on Wednesday. Adra was arrested while trying to illegally cross into Israel in February 2012 with several other people.
The ISA believes Adra and his cell gathered intelligence on behalf of Hamas’ leadership in the Gaza Strip on various Israeli targets along the Egyptian-Israeli border, including the Taba Crossing Point near Eilat and various army bases. One scenario allegedly included dispatching several suicide bombers into Eilat through the Sinai. Adra, who apparently underwent intensive training by Hamas-linked terrorists in the Sinai, was to orchestrate several attacks simultaneously, including kidnapping an IDF soldier and firing rockets on bases along the border.
Recent weeks saw an increase in terrorist activity along that border, including in the form of IEDs, with no Israeli casualties. Just two weeks ago Israeli forces killed a Gaza Strip terrorist leader because it suspected he was on the verge of carrying out a large-scale attack in that arena. In August, a group of terrorists based in the Sinai crossed over into Israel and killed several Israelis, in one of the bloodiest attacks on the largely peaceful border since the 1979 Peace Treaty with Egypt.
Israeli authorities plan to file an indictment against Adra on Wednesday at the Beersheba District Court.