After a gag order was lifted on the case, the Israeli Secret Security Services, Shin Bet, reported that it arrested three Palestinians, said to be manufacturers of Qassam homemade shells, in the Negev on October 5, 2005.
According to the Shin Bet, the three were heading from the Gaza Strip to Jenin in the northern West Bank in order train resistance groups to manufacture homemade shells, and explosives.
The three were arrested during the funeral of an Egyptian-Bedouin smuggler. An Egyptian guide was also arrested with them.
The three fighters are members of the Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza; they crossed into Israel through that Sinai border after bribing Egyptian border to police to let them through.
Israeli online daily, Haaretz, reported that the three men are experienced manufacturers of shells and explosives, and are believed to be involved in attacks against settlers in the Gaza Strip prior to the Israeli withdrawal.
Haaretz said that the head of the cell, Sharif Ziyada, 34, who is an explosive expert, was carrying with him a loaded gun and computer files filled with instruction to manufacture the homemade shells.
According to an Israeli security source, the cell wanted also to create a network with funding from Hamas and the Lebanon based Hezbollah party. The three arrested received instructions on carrying suicide bombings, and were also planning to abduct soldiers and settlers, according to the Shin Bet.
A senior Shin Bet official said on Sunday that this network, if it was able to carry its plans, it would have very disastrous implications for Israel.
The three fighters were indicted by the Be’er Shiva District Court; the court also believes they participated in previous attacks against soldiers and settlers in the Gaza Strip.
“One of the fighters admitted to installing explosives near the former Gaza Strip settlement of Netzarim in February 2002”, Haaretz reported, “Three Israeli soldiers were killed in this attack”.