Middle East

Shin Bet says it foiled Hamas suicide bombing plot directed from Turkey


Israel announced on Monday that it had foiled a recent attempt by Hamas to carry out a suicide bombing attack in Israel, directed by members of the terror group who were based in Turkey.

According to the Shin Bet security agency, on March 15, Anas Shurman, a Palestinian originally from the West Bank city of Tulkarem who lives in Jordan, was detained in Nablus over his suspected involvement in the bombing plot.

The agency said his interrogation revealed that in December 2023, he was recruited by Imad Abid, a Hamas operative living in Turkey who is also originally from the West Bank.

Shurman agreed to carry out a suicide bombing on behalf of Hamas, with the target set to be in Israel proper, the Shin Bet said.

The Shin Bet said that as part of the plans ahead of the attack, the would-be suicide bomber filmed a last will, took motorcycle lessons that he would have used in the attack, and received funds and instructions to carry out the bombing, including where to collect the explosive device from a hidden location in the West Bank.

The large fragmentation bomb, weighing some 12 kilograms (nearly 26.5 pounds), was seized by the Shin Bet from a spring in the West Bank, the agency said. Next to the bomb, the Shin Bet said, it found written instructions on how to carry out the attack.

A bomb captured by Israeli forces, intended for use in a Hamas-directed suicide bombing, in a photo provided on June 3, 2024. (Shin Bet)

According to the Shin Bet, additional Hamas members involved in the plot, who were part of terror network based in Nablus, were also detained. The agency said they were involved in manufacturing the bomb and hiding it for Shurman.

Shurman was charged with several severe security offenses, including “attempting to intentionally cause death” — the equivalent of attempted murder under military law — as well as membership in a terror group.

Five more residents of Nablus were hit with similar charges, the Shin Bet said.

The agency said its investigation “reveals the entrenchment of Hamas… in Turkey and its involvement in directing terror attacks in Israel.”

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has moved between Turkey and Qatar’s capital Doha in recent years. In April, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hosted Haniyeh and a delegation from Hamas, which he has called a “liberation movement,” in Istanbul.

In April, security forces said they had foiled a plot by three East Jerusalem men who had sworn allegiance to ISIS and planned to carry out attacks at Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium and a local police office, two of whom intended to travel abroad to Syria or Iraq for training.

At the same time, the Shin Bet said it had foiled a separate plot by a cell of Arab Israelis and West Bank Palestinians to carry out terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank, including assassinating National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, and attacking IDF bases and other sensitive sites, among them Ben Gurion Airport and the government complex in Jerusalem.

In March, the agency said it foiled an Iran-backed plan to smuggle advanced weapons to terror operatives in the West Bank to be used in attacks on Israeli targets.

In January, police announced that they had arrested two suspects, aged 23 and 21, on suspicion of plans to carry out bombing attacks in Jerusalem, in support of ISIS. Then, later that month, police said they had arrested two more East Jerusalem residents, 19 and 20, who planned to carry out bombing attacks near the Knesset and had purchased chemicals to make explosives.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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