The Shin Bet security services and the Israel Defense Forces said yesterday they have in recent weeks arrested 16 Bethlehem residents who are suspected of having planned a series of large-scale terror attacks in Jerusalem.
The cells are said to have planned to dispatch two pairs of suicide bombers to the Mea She'arim neighborhood in the capital, and to carry out a terror attack using an explosive-laden ambulance. Also attributed to one of the cells is a plan to attack a bus carrying worshipers to Rachel's Tomb near Bethlehem.
Based on details released by security forces yesterday, Hamas was meant to provide the suicide bombers for the missions, while Islamic Jihad was supposed to supply the explosive devices. Some of those arrested, including four teenage would-be suicide bombers, served in the Palestinian national security services. Among those arrested is Hamed Dar'awi, an active member in the PA's national security services, who is said to have been the planner of the ambulance attack.
The cells are said to have received instructions from Palestinian militant leaders in the Gaza Strip.