Israeli security services said on Monday they have arrested a Hamas-affiliated cell that had transferred funds through credit cards from the Gaza Strip to Ramallah via Turkey.
According to a statement, the detainees confessed to using the funds to finance “terrorist activities” against Israel.
The five Hamas students at Birzeit University near Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, became acquainted during their studies and maintained contact with senior Hamas officials based in Turkey.
The Israeli army and Shin Bet security agency carried out a joint operation to arrest the students.
The statement said that the cell is led by Abdul Rahman Hamdan (21) from Ramallah, and its other four members are Abdul Rahman Sabah Judah Alawi (21) from Deir Jarir, northeast of Ramallah, Barakat Raed Barakat Maliki (22), a resident of Jalazone Refugee Camp, Yahya Sadiq Samih Karout (21) and Hamza Abid Abdulrakim Zalloum (20).
According to Israel’s claim, one of the students would submit a funding request for kutla (an Islamic student group) activities, Hamas leaders in Turkey would then approve the request and instruct officials at the Hamas headquarters in Gaza to transfer the funds.
“The money would be transferred via credit cards by individuals who had entered Israel for medical treatment. The students would then withdraw the funds at ATM machines across Ramallah.”
Some of the detainees also confessed to opening fire at Israeli settlers and soldiers in the area.