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IDF believes members of Hamas cell targeted in West Bank raid still on the loose

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Members of a Hamas cell that was targeted in a series of raids on Sunday night and Monday morning are likely still on the loose, according to military assessments.

Israeli security forces on Sunday were reviewing the matter following the previous night’s operations, in which at least five Palestinians were killed, four of them known members of terror groups, and two Israel Defense Forces soldiers were seriously injured.

The fifth Palestinian fatality was believed to have been involved in a riot that broke out in the town of Burqin, near Jenin, following an arrest there.

The Israel Defense Forces was also investigating the circumstances in which the two soldiers were seriously injured and increasingly believes that they were hit by friendly fire after a Palestinian gunman opened fire at them in Burqin.

The Israeli raids — a joint operation by the IDF, Shin Bet security service, Israel Police and Border Police — were directed against a Hamas cell operating in the West Bank.

Five guns were confiscated in the overnight raids, along with large amounts of ammunition. Several other members of the group were arrested in the preceding nights. In total, some 20 suspected members of the cell have been picked up in recent days.

Though the military believes it struck a serious blow to the cell’s plans and ability to act, it does not yet know if it has fully removed the threat posed by it.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that the Hamas cell was planning to carry out terror attacks imminently.

“Security forces acted tonight in Judea and Samaria against Hamas terrorists who were poised to carry out terror attacks in the immediate future,” Bennett said in a statement, en route to New York to speak at the United Nations General Assembly, using the biblical term for the West Bank.

The IDF refused to comment more specifically on what the alleged Hamas cell was suspected of planning to do, but said that most of the members were arrested with weapons in their possession and that some of them had opened fire at Israeli troops during the........

© The Times of Israel

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