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Shin Bet Expects Renewed Attacks in Israeli Cities, Accuses Hezbollah and Hamas | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his Jerusalem office on March 13, 2016. AFP / GALI TIBBON

Tel Aviv-The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has issued a statement released by Shin Bet security service announcing a possible return of bombings to Israeli cities and accusing Lebanon’s so-called Hezbollah and the Palestinian Hamas Movement of plotting the attacks.

The Shin Bet statement said that several terrorist cells, which had been formed in the West Bank under the instruction of Hezbollah and Hamas, have been arrested in the past weeks.

The network of Palestinians was allegedly recruited via Facebook.

“Along with the orders to carry out shooting attacks and suicide bombings against Israeli targets, the agents were ordered to help recruit more (Palestinians) for the organization’s activities,” the Shin Bet statement read.

In one case, a Hezbollah agent had used Facebook to recruit a resident of Qalqilya, 18-year-old Mustafa al-Hindi, who in turn recruited four others from his city in the north of the occupied West Bank, it said.

The five allegedly began gathering intelligence on Israeli army activities in the area and to conduct weapons training, before being arrested last month.

Shin Bet also said Osama Najem, a 36-year-old Gazan – recruited by Hezbollah through Facebook – recruited three Palestinians from the West Bank who had started to train and plan attacks. The four were also arrested before carrying out any action.

Israel’s Public Security Ministry announced on Thursday that it was pushing to increase safety of public spaces by bolstering on-site guards and introducing patrols.

The decision came two months after a deadly attack in Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market when two cousins opened fire in the complex.

Following the initial probe, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan established a committee to assess the security of such public spaces and present recommendations on how to prevent repeated attacks.

The committee found a security gap. So, it recommended a simple but wide-ranging amendment to the Business Permits Law, requiring open-plan and outdoor shopping centers to apply for the same police permits as closed malls.