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Israel arrests Hamas operatives after fatal shooting

Tel Aviv, Nov 23 (IANS) Israel has arrested more than 50 operatives of a Hamas cell in the West Bank following a fatal shooting incident in East Jerusalem, the Jewish state's Shin Bet internal security agency and the army said jointly.

The people arrested on Monday were accused of planning to carry out attacks against Israelis, reports Xinhua news agency.

"A large-scale terrorist cell" had been uncovered in the past few months in the West Bank, the army said in a statement, adding that the cell members were planning to carry out attacks in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

"The thwarted terrorist cell possessed many weapons and explosives, including explosives suitable for building a number of heavy explosive terror belts", the statement said.

Over 50 cell members were arrested in the joint operation following "the unique intelligence activity" and collaborations among the Shin Bet, police and military, according to the statement.

The Shin Bet said in a separate statement that the operatives "were involved in establishing the terrorist infrastructure."

On Sunday, a 42-year-old Palestinian man from East Jerusalem carried out a shooting attack outside the al-Aqsa mosque compound, killing Eliyahu Kay, 26, who was buried in Jerusalem on Monday.

Two civilians and two police officers were injured.

Hamas hailed the attack and confirmed the shooter was one of its members.

However, it did not elaborate on whether the group was responsible for the planning of the attack.