(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Dozens of former Palestinian security prisoners released as part of the Gilad Shalit deal are trying to form new terrorist cells in Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem, with the purpose of carrying out suicide attacks against Israelis, senior Palestinian sources warned Thursday.
The 2011 prisoner exchange that secured the return of Shalit, a captive of the Hamas terror group, saw 1,027 Palestinian prisoners released. The majority of them were expelled to Turkey and Gaza, but it seems that they are now trying to regain a foothold in Judea and Samaria.
According to a Palestinian source, the driving force behind these attempts is senior Hamas operative Salah al-Aruri, who was released in the deal and is based in Istanbul. Al-Aruri’s efforts are rumored to have the backing of the heads of Hamas’s “military wing,” the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades.
The exiled terrorist has reportedly recruited several former prisoners to serve as cell leaders, and they are recruiting Palestinians for their terrorist squads. The operation is said to be compartmentalized—each cell leader has a different handler, either in Turkey or in Gaza, leaving them oblivious to each other’s efforts on the ground.
Hamas sources said that since al-Aruri’s operations are funded by Qatar-based Muslim Brotherhood supporters, he is actually creating a new terror group with its own agenda, independent of Hamas.