Hebron Terror Cells Uncovered, Members Arrested

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) uncovered several Palestinian Arab terror cells in Hebron.

On Wednesday, the agency released information about one Hamas-affiliated cell hoping to kidnap Kiryat Arba residents. The three-member cell, led by a known Hamas operative who served time for terror-related activities, detonated several explosive devices along the city's security fence in an attempt to gauge the IDF's response. Their plan was to infiltrate the town and either kidnap or kill a resident.

Another cell confessed to remotely detonating explosives tucked inside a fire extinguisher in an attack on an Israeli car driving near the Arab village of Yata, about four miles south of Hebron.

The arrests are part of ongoing efforts by the Shin Bet to uncover terror cells operating in the area. Two months ago, a nine-member cell near Ramallah was indicted for attempted kidnappings. The cell, equipped with a taser and tear gas, planned to kidnap Israeli drivers and used them as bargaining chips for the release of Arab prisoners, the Israeli daily Ha'aretz reported.

According to the report, the cell planned to post the videotaped kidnapping on the Internet to convince Israel to negotiate for the victim's release.

Meanwhile, near the Kissufim crossing with the Gaza Strip, two Golani Brigade soldiers on a routine patrol were lightly wounded by sniper fire. The soldiers were transported to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheva for treatment. The unit returned fire as it searched for the terror cell.

Terror-related activities -- planting bombs, sniper and RPG fire -- have been increasing again along the border with Gaza.

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