Terrorists Planned to Blow Up Zichron Yaakov Shul, Train, Officials Say

A shul at the center of Zichron Yaakov. (Lior Mizrahi/Flash90)

In a joint operation, the Shin Bet, IDF and Israel Police on Monday announced that they had arrested Hamas terrorists who had planned to blow up, among other things, a train in Binyamina, a shul in Zichron Yaakov, and a bus carrying mostly soldiers. They also planned to kidnap soldiers in the area of Chevron.

The members of the gang, mostly from the Chevron-area village of Bani Naim, gathered intelligence on their targets and connected via social media with others who could help them carry out their attacks. Among the targets was the main train station in Binyamina, where they planned to carry out an attack on a train, as well as the main shul in Zichron Yaakov. Investigators said that they were familiar with the areas as they had worked there in the past. Arrested in recent days were two brothers who were the linchpins of the gang, officials said, and more arrests are expected.

The three terrorists, Mamduach Yunis, 24, of Ar’ara, and brothers Hassan, 23, and Muhammed Zida’at, 25, were indicted in the Haifa District Court on Monday.

Also on Monday, security officials at the Erez crossing facility in Gaza confiscated large amounts of contraband that had been headed into Gaza. Among the items confiscated were many goods that are banned from Gaza, including paragliders, small motors, hidden camera devices, laser devices, weapons attachments and more. The items were hidden inside bags of mail that were to be delivered to Gaza.

Many of the items were ordered online from the Far East. Many of the packages were to be delivered to a small number of specific addresses, leading security officials to suspect that they were ordered by terrorists, for use in terror attacks. All of the items confiscated are “dual use” items, which means they could be used for civilian or military purposes. The items were confiscated. Officials said they would continue to interdict items that could be used for terror attacks on Israelis.