Popular Resistance Committees Attempts To Establish a Foothold in the West Bank

On Tue., the Shin Bet said that in recent weeks it arrested four West Bank Palestinians attempting to carry out attacks against Israeli targets. The Shin Bet alleges that the Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) recruited and directed the suspects.

FDD’s Long War Journal has tracked the PRC’s movements in the West Bank since March 3, and reported the group’s attempt to establish a foothold in Jenin.

The Shin Bet alleges Iman Zakot and Mohammed Aram – both residents of Rafah and members of the PRC – recruited Palestinians living in the West Bank. The pair provided recruits with training and instructions on carrying out operations against Israeli targets, including smuggling weapons into the West Bank.

During the investigation of the two Palestinian suspects, it was uncovered that they had received a firearm and direction from the PRC to carry out a shooting attack in Jerusalem, according to the Shin Bet.

Last month, the Shin Bet arrested two additional Palestinian suspects. The Shin Bet alleges the pair were planning to carry out a bomb assault on behalf of the PRC.

It’s unclear to what extent the PRC has established itself in the West Bank. Open-source evidence shows the group appears to be active in Jenin where fighters have participated in meetings with established militant organizations such as Palestinian Islamic Jihad and al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

The PRC’s official media channels have yet to claim they have established a formation in the West Bank. For now, online channels claiming affiliation with the PRC’s Jenin branch publish evidence of the group’s activity. Despite official channels not mentioning its alleged activities in the West Bank, evidence is mounting that they are active.

On December 26, 2022, the Shin Bet alleged it foiled a bomb strike directed by the PRC and al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. On March 4, a video claiming to be published by the group’s fighters in Jenin showed an IED exploding at an unidentified location in the West Bank.

The PRC is the third largest militant organization behind Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, respectively. Despite other Gaza-based militant groups’ activity, the PRC has not demonstrated interest in destabilizing the West Bank until recently. The PRC has proven ties to Hezbollah and Iran. Additionally, the PRC has an extensive history of bombing and rocket attacks against Israelis and Americans.

The U.S. government has not enacted sanctions on the PRC despite attacks against civilians.

Joe Truzman is an editor and senior research analyst at FDD's Long War Journal focused primarily on Palestinian armed groups and non-state actors in the Middle East.

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