Israel’s intelligence community has determined that the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip was intensifying efforts to conduct operations in the West Bank.

The Israel Security Agency said a Hamas operative in the Gaza Strip was helping recruit and organize attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians in the West Bank. The operative was identified as Omar Abu Sneina, a former resident of the southern West Bank city of Hebron and one of 1,027
Palestinians released by Israel for Sgt. Gilad Shalit in October 2011.

“We shall keep on thwarting terror plots targeting Israelis and shall do everything in our power to bring all those involved in terror to justice including the prisoners released as part of the Shalit deal who have resumed their terrorist activity,” ISA said on April 17.

Abu Sneina, formerly a member of the ruling Fatah movement, was said to have been appointed by Hamas to become a leading liasion with the network in the West Bank. ISA said Abu Sneina, who joined Hamas during his prison term, was responsible for recruitment and handling of Hamas operatives for major attacks.

One such attack called for the abduction of Israeli soldiers. ISA acquired instructions sent by Abu Sneina to West Bank recruits on how to organize such an operation.

“The first stage must focus in the establishment of a cell and arming it with all the necessary equipment,” Abu Sneina said in a memory card seized by ISA. “The members should be trained on direct attacks. The attack should be announced only after the fact and in code.”

Abu Sneina also urged his recruits not to use phones or the Internet for unencoded communications. ISA said his instructions on communications were highly detailed.

“You must not talk openly unless speaking face-to-face,” Abu Sneina said in the memory card, sent to his family in Hebron.

Abu Sneina also provided instructions on how to acquire weapons for operations in the West Bank. He said a key source was the Israel Army.

“We should try to obtain resources, weapons and ready-to-use explosives, but must do so carefully and through the proper channels,” Abu Sneina said. “We can obtain the enemy’s weaponry even if we have to use cold weapons first.”

The reference to cold weapons was to knives rather than firearms. ISA said other Hamas operatives were assigned to purchase weapons for West Bank cells as well as establish safe houses for Israeli captives.

“A live captive should be visited at least once a week and given food and water, and should be hidden in a house, a farm or a work place,” Abu Sneina said. “Refrain from hiding [the Israeli captive] in abandoned areas, caves, or groves, unless it’s a body or the head of the abducted person.”

ISA also cited another operative released in the 2011 exchange, identified as Daoud Hilo. The Israeli agency said Hilo engaged in gun running within a month of his release in December 2011.