Israeli security forces were successful in apprehending a terror cell that carried out several terror attacks, including the murder of Danny Gonen.
Israeli security forces announced Wednesday that they arrested the terrorist who murdered Danny Gonen late last month. One other Israeli was wounded in the attack.
The operation to apprehend the terrorists was conducted by several Special Forces units over the past weeks, Shin Bet (Israel’s Security Agency) stated.
The murderer and mastermind of the terror cell is Mahmad Shahin, 30, of Qalandia, north of Jerusalem. The four other terrorists from the Ramallah area were arrested in the operation, and weapons used in previous terror attacks were seized.
The terrorists admitted to assisting in the murder of Gonen and to carrying out several other shooting attacks against Israeli security forces.
Shahin, 30, is a former member of the Fatah-affiliated Force 17 security unit, and received a salary from the Palestinian Authority (PA).
He spent two years in an Israeli prison, from 2006 to 2008, after confessing to planning shooting and stabbing attacks.
Shahin arrived at the spring near Dolev to gather intelligence before last month’s deadly shooting.
In 2014, he carried out six shootings, including one that injured a soldier, the Shin Bet stated after the arrests.
Another arrested terrorist, Amjad Adwan, 35 from Qalandia, was also a Tanzim-Fatah operative. Adwan supplied ammunition to Shahin, and acted as a lookout in a number of shooting attacks. He too spent time in an Israeli prison for arms dealings and carrying out a bombing attack.
The third terrorist, Ashraf Amar, 24, also of Qalandia, is an operative in the PA’s intelligence” branch, the Shin Bet pointed out. He had planned to execute an attack together with Shahin, but did not have a chance to do so.
The fourth cell member, Osama Assad, 29, was imprisoned in Israel on weapons charges and was released in the Shalit deal. He hid the gun used in the terror attack and knew of Shahin’s actions.
Another terrorist, who has no organizational affiliation, was also under arrest on suspicion of involvement.
Gonen, a 25-year-old electrical engineering student, was shot as he was on a hike to a spring in Samaria together with a friend.
An investigation into the incident revealed that as they approached a junction a Palestinian standing at the side of the road asked them to pull over.
They complied, and the terrorists struck up a conversation with them. After ensuring that those in the car were Israelis, the terrorists opened fire at close range, hitting both Israelis with 9-milliliter bullets. Gonen died shortly after of his wounds.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commended the security forces for their quick work.
“On the day of the murder, I said that we would catch the reprehensible and abhorrent murderer and the ISA [Shin Bet] and IDF did so in a short time. Now that it becomes clear that this was a Palestinian Authority man it will be interesting to see if the Palestinian Authority condemns the murder or continues its silence. Those who do not attack terrorism will, in the end, be attacked by it,” the prime minister said.
By: Max Gelber, United with Israel
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