TEL AVIV: Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security service and army said on Thursday that some 20 members of Hamas’ armed wing have been arrested in the southern West Bank city of Hebron.
The Shin Bet and army arrested “approximately 20 terrorists affiliated with the Hamas who were planning a kidnapping attack in order to bargain for the release of prisoners,” a joint statement read. It said they were arrested over the past few months.
“A variety of ammunition was discovered, including more than 10 different kinds of weapons,” the statement said. According to the Shin Bet, the group “represented a Hamas attempt to establish a local Hamas headquarters in Hebron.”
“The terrorists were indicted with the charge of weapon possession, contacting a hostile organisation and conspiracy to kidnap an IDF soldier,” the statement read.
Separately, Hamas has said said it does not accept the two-state solution, following reports the party had changed its position to accept the state of Israel.
The Saudi newspaper Al-Sharq reported on Wednesday that Hamas politburo chief Khalid Mashaal asked Jordan’s King Abdullah to inform US President Barack Obama that Hamas accepted the two-state solution.
Israel has seen a recent increase in Palestinian unrest, and the Shin Bet tied the upswing to November’s eight-day battle between Israel and Palestinian resistance fighters in the Gaza Strip. Security sources have said that that Israel plans to step up arrests of suspected resistance fighters in the occupied West Bank.