Cleared for publication: The Shin Bet reveals that the heads of Hamas’ armed wing Izz a-Din al-Qassam in Gaza attempted to establish a terror infrastructure in Judea and Samaria to carry out terror attacks in Israel.
Hamas terrorists in Gaza recruited terrorists in Judea and Samaria and trained them on preparing explosive devices and setting crowded areas as targets for terror attacks.
Operatives of Hamas’s military wing in the Gaza Strip are said to have recruited members in the West Bank and trained them on preparing explosive devices and setting crowded areas as targets for attacks.
The activity exposed by the Shin Bet was “different from Hamas’ efforts in recent years, in terms of its scope and risk potential,” including the use of cancer patients.
Hamas communicated with the terrorists in Judea and Samaria through messages passed on by Gaza patients allowed into Israel to undergo life-saving medical treatments, as well as other Gaza residents who had business contacts in Judea and Samaria. The Shin Bet noted this was not the first time Hamas was exploiting humanitarian cases to carry out terror attacks in Israel.
The terror infrastructure was uncovered following the September 23 arrest of Awis Rajoub, a 25-years-old Hamas terrorist from Dura, near Hevron.
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On August 11, Muslim terrorist Awis Rajoub was sent to a medical warehouse in Ramallah to pick up a cell phone for his communications with his operators in Gaza.
Several days later, he met with a Gazan woman who was accompanying her sister to Israel for medical treatments. She was sent by Hamas to provide him with a password for his phone and instructions on how to use the device.
The Gaza operators sent videos to this cell phone instructing Rajoub how to build remotely-detonated bombs. Rajoub also had video chats with an explosives expert who is part of the terror infrastructure.
Rajoub recruited two Hamas terrorists from Battir, Yazan and Sayyaf Asafra, and instructed them to find suitable targets for the terror attack in Israel and to prepare the explosives for the bomb, while he worked on the detonator.
Investigation of the case has revealed yet again that the Hamas terrorists use sick people from Gaza, who have been permitted to enter Israel in order to receive lifesaving treatment, in order to expedite terror activity in Judea and Samaria. In this case, the aforementioned messenger from the Gaza Strip was identified by the Shin Bet as Naama Mikdad, 53, a mother of nine children, who accompanied her sister Samira Smot, 47, a resident of Khan Yunis, a nurse by profession, who suffers from cancer and whose entry was permitted on 9 August 2018 in order to receive medical treatment.
After meeting Avis Rajoub, the two sisters went – on 16 August – to a café in Ramallah where Hamas terrorist Fouad Dar Khalil, from Sinjil, worked. He had formerly been imprisoned in Israel for 14 years (2002-2016) over his involvement in a shooting attack on an Israeli vehicle and for preparing additional severe attacks. They gave him a suitcase containing a secret message from the infrastructure. The sisters’ departure from Erez Crossing and the transfer of the secret message was carried with the coordination, and under the guidance, of their uncle Muhammad Abu Kwaik, 36, a Hamas al-Qassam terrorist, who is known to be in contact with terrorists and to assist them in their terror activities. Fouad was also arrested by the Shin Bet, on 18 October 2018.
The Shin Bet investigation revealed the two women were aware of the contents of the suitcase. They said that they were sent to meet Fouad on behalf of Abu Alabed, Ashraf Sabah, 37, a Hamas terrorist from Gaza, who had served 12 years for severe terrorist offenses. It was also learned that Ashraf was behind the recruitment and handling of Fouad.
The secret message said that Fouad was being contacted in order to recruit him for terrorist activity in Israel on behalf of the Izz a-Din al-Qassam and that he was to recruit a cell of local terrorists to carry out the attacks with him. The author of the message indicated that the Hamas armed wing would assist him in acquiring the necessary materials and would send him appropriate financing as well as video clips that explained how to produce the IEDs. The investigation revealed that Fouad Khalil acceded to Ashraf Sabah’s proposal.
Hamas’s continued attempts to carry out such terrorist activity, in the face of repeated failures, attest to the strategy chosen by the Hamas leadership to undermine the stability in Judea and Samaria at any price. Continued activity by the secret network for carrying out attacks, which is operated by the senior armed wing leadership, constitutes a central and dangerous element for instability and is an immediate and substantial threat to the region.