‘Popular terrorism’: Hamas contractors recruit West Bank teens for attacks on Israelis

Special to WorldTribune.com

RAMALLAH — Israel’s intelligence community has determined that
former Hamas operatives were forming independent insurgency cells in the
West Bank.

The Israel Security Agency has captured two cells determined to have
been formed by former Hamas agents for operations against Israeli soldiers
and civilians in the West Bank. ISA said the cells were comprised of
teenagers who targeted Israeli soldiers and vehicles around the cities of
Bethlehem and Nablus.

Children participate in paramilitary training at a Hamas summer camp.

“These cells were not formally part of Hamas or Fatah,” an official
said. “This is something that could be called popular terrorism.”

Officials said the cells gained access to both weapons as well as
knowledge to produce firebombs and other lethal means. They said the cells were believed to have sought to establish a record of operations against Israeli targets before appealing for Hamas funding.

“There are plenty of cheap weapons, so there is no need to begin a terrorist cell with Hamas or other backing,” the official said.

On Nov. 16, ISA announced the capture of two cells that allegedly fired toward the military and hurled firebombs. One cell, comprised of at least six Palestinians, stemmed from the Bethlehem-area village of Shura and targeted the Israeli security barrier north of Bet Sahour in August.

Officials said the cell members were between the ages of 18 and 22 and
also targeted Jewish residents. They said the cell accumulated weapons,
including a recoiless rifle.

“There has been extensive activity of a local cell, highly motivated to
target Jews and the security forces, which armed itself with improvised
weapons, underwent training and carried out several shooting attacks and
placed explosive devices, as well as hurling numerous firebombs,” an Israeli
military indictment of the cell said.

The second cell stemmed from the Nablus-area village of Zuata. ISA said
two Palestinians, both aged 21, formerly in Hamas were believed to have
planted a bomb near an Israel Army patrol in September.

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