Shin Bet Foils Hamas Plot to Assassinate MK Ben Gvir, Bomb Yerushalayim Light Rail

MK Itamar Ben Gvir and right-wing activists waving the Israeli flag attend a march through the Old City of Yerushalayim, April 20. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israeli security forces uncovered an active Hamas terror cell in eastern Jerusalem that planned a series of attacks, including against MK Itamar Ben Gvir, authorities said Tuesday.

According to the Shin Bet and Israel Police, the five men planned a shooting attack against Ben Gvir and other Israeli targets, as well as kidnappings of IDF soldiers, and a bombing attack on the Yerushalayim light rail using a drone.

The security authorities said the cell was led by Rashid Rashak, “a prominent Hamas operative, a resident of the Old City of Yerushalayim.”

He was also accused of establishing a network of Hamas supporters who led recent clashes on Har HaBayis last month.

Shin Bet and police said Rashak planned, together with Mansour Safadi, another Hamas operative from the eastern Yerushalayim neighborhood of Abu Tor, a shooting attack or suicide bombing attack in Yerushalayim.

Authorities seized a drone that was intended to be armed and used in an attack on Yerushalayim’s light rail.

The investigation found that the cell planned to hide in Chevron or Jenin after committing the attacks, the Shin Bet said.

Two of the five suspected terrorists who intended to assassinate MK Ben Gvir and carry out a series of terrorist attacks are brought for a court hearing at the Yerushalayim District Court, on Tuesday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The five were arrested last month, and were charged with several terror offenses, according to indictments published Tuesday.

Responding to the announcement, Ben Gvir blamed left-wing activists, as well as Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, for the Hamas plot.

“The writing was on the wall. The incitement of the leftists against me and the statements of Bennett and Lapid toward me did their part, and it turns out that a squad of terrorists planned to try to harm me and my family,” Ben Gvir said.

“Words can kill!” he added.

Last month, Bennett ordered that Ben Gvir be prevented from marching at Yerushalayim’s Damascus Gate, a site of frequent violence, after the Shin Bet warned it may lead to “significant harm” to Israel’s security.

On Sunday, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh warned Israel against allowing right-wing Israelis to conduct the annual Yerushalayim Day “Flag March” in the Old City next week.

The foiled attempt by the Hamas cell came amid heightened tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, against a backdrop of terror attacks that have left 19 Israelis dead since mid-March.

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