A three-man terrorist cell was captured Saturday night, April 9, just north of Ramallah carrying large backpacks packed with weapons. They were picked up in an operation carried out jointly by two Palestinian security services, the General Intelligence Agency and the Security Battalions. The three terrorists came from different towns, Jerusalem, Hebron and Jenin, but had rented a flat together in Ramallah.
debkafile’s counterterrorism sources reveal that Israeli security services had been watching the three men for some weeks and noted their purchase of toxic substances for the purpose of executing the first Palestinian chemical attack in Israel. They managed to steal out of Ramallah Thursday night, April 7 on their way to a mega terror operation in Israel and drop out of sight.
The ongoing ties of cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian security services was activated and the the terrorist plotters finally apprehended.
The episode was kept under close wraps in Israel while the hunt was only and the danger was still outstanding. Israeli public attention was diverted by the warning of an imminent terror attack in Turkey and advice to Israelis to leave the country without delay.
Last week, too, there were press reports about progress in secret negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority concerning the transfer of security responsibility in Jericho and Ramallah from Israel to the Palestinians.
Those negotiations never took off, our sources report, because the plan was vetoed from the word go by the Shin Bet security service, whose chiefs emphasized the importance of maintaining a close watch on Ramallah as a hub of clandestine terrorist activity