Two Palestinian men with entry permits to Israel were caught by Israeli security forces transferring funds from Gaza to Judea and Samaria. They then revealed the location of launching points for rockets as well as information about tunnels, many of which are located under civilian structures such as residences and mosques.
Israeli security forces arrested two Hamas couriers who were transferring funds from Gaza to terrorists in Judea and Samaria, and their subsequent questioning has revealed a treasure-trove of information on Hamas’ terror tunnel network and activities in Gaza.
The Shin Bet (Israel’s Security Agency) cleared for publication Monday that in June it arrested Fayez Matzbah Muhammad Atar, 65 of Beit Lahiye in the Gaza Strip, who holds a permit to enter Israel for commercial purposes
He was arrested at the Tarkumiye crossing near Hebron after they exposed his role as a Hamas courier who transferred funds meant for terrorists in Judea and Samaria through various crossings.
Atar hid the cash in specially modified shoes he wore for this purpose. He smuggled tens of thousands of Euros for various Hamas terrorists in Judea and Samaria in this fashion.
He was fully aware that the money was for Hamas and terrorism, the Shin Bet stressed.
Shin Bet investigators learned that members of Atar’s family are involved in Hamas activities, including some active in operations against IDF forces and in digging terror tunnels. Atar’s sons used his home for Hamas meetings.
Atar also revealed information about the entrances of tunnels that were located, for the most part, under civilian structures such as residences and mosques, as well as the location of launching points for rockets that were located close to civilian structures.
The Shin Bet said that Hamas’ use of civilians for cover endangered them.
In a similar development, Israeli forces in June arrested Itallah Ali Abd Al-Karim Sirhan, 37, a resident of Jebalya in Gaza who holds a permit to enter Israel for commercial purposes.
He was arrested at the Erez crossing in to Gaza after he too was caught trying to smuggle 10,000 Euros in his shoes for Hamas terrorists in Judea and Samaria.
Sirhan, who received an entry permit only two weeks before his arrest, had been contacted on the day of his first entry in Israel by a Hamas policeman who worked on the Gazan side of Erez crossing, and who recruited him to smuggle cash into Judea and Samaria.
In addition to the smuggling attempt on the day of his arrest, a day before his arrest, Sirhan had transferred cash for terrorists in Judea and Samaria, the Shin Bet said.
Sirhan was fully aware that the money was for a terrorist organization in Judea and Samaria.
Sirhan’s investigation revealed he had previously worked for several months as a truck driver for a company that cleared away sand from Hamas and Islamic Jihad tunnel excavation sites. Through his work, Sirhan was exposed to many tunnel locations. He divulged considerable information about entrances of tunnel shafts including their exact locations and conditions, and the terrorist organizations running them.
“Beyond the considerable information that was obtained, this investigation underscored the cynical way in which Hamas exploits the willingness of the State of Israel to ease conditions for the civilian population in the Gaza Strip by issuing commercial permits to enter Israel and uses permit holders to advance its terrorist goals, thus deliberately harming the civilian population in the Gaza Strip,” the Shin Bet stated.
The State of Israel enables the entry of thousands of residents of the Gaza Strip on a monthly basis for humanitarian medical and other needs. More than once, terrorist elements have exploited these permit holders for illegal purposes, including the transfer of cash for terrorism.
“This grave event underscores the abuse of Israel’s readiness to meet the humanitarian needs of the population of the Gaza Strip. The State of Israel will work to thwart this activity and deal with offenders to the fullest extent of the law,” the Shin Bet declared.