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Israeli Intelligence Arrests Hamas Cell in Jerusalem

Israeli Intelligence Arrests Hamas Cell in Jerusalem

Saturday, 19 March, 2022 - 08:30
Religious Jews in a Jerusalem suburb during Purim celebrations (EPA)

The Israeli intelligence (Shin Bet) arrested a Palestinian cell in Jerusalem that transferred $250,000 from Turkey to finance alleged terrorist activities and pay families of martyrs and prisoners.

The Israeli Public Prosecution has submitted an indictment to a court in Jerusalem against four citizens from Sur Baher and Beit Hanina, on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

They were accused of running a terrorist group, encouraging terrorist activities, financing terrorism, tax offenses, and money laundering.

The Shin Bet claimed the detainees were assigned to carry out military operations that led to clashes during the holy month of Ramadan.

The Shin Bet and the Israeli police arrested the four suspects last month, but a media blackout was imposed, which was removed Friday during the trial.

The indictment named the detainees as freed prisoner Khaled Sabah, a senior Hamas official in Jerusalem, his two sons Munib and Musab and Firas Tawtah, claiming some were trained outside the country.

Tawtah is accused of using the Zakat Committee that he leads for funneling money to Hamas and collecting and distributing $8.6 million between 2007 and 2021.

The police claimed that Sabah had recently met with Khaled Atoun and Musa Ekry, Hamas top officials, who currently live and work in Turkey, and that they appointed Sabah in charge of "Hamas" funds in Jerusalem.

A sum of $250,000 was recently handed over to him for financing Hamas' activities during Ramadan, but he was unable to bring such a large sum across the border, and he started entering the money in small amounts.

The operators urged Sabah to find a way to enter the money, so he deposited it in a Turkish bank account and spent the amount from his Palestinian bank account.

Israeli authorities confiscated $246,000 in cash that was found in his home.

The indictment added that Sabah's two sons aided him as members of Hamas, and the money was transferred to Hamas activists and their families and persons convicted of offenses of terrorism and breach of public order.

The Shin Bet claimed Sabah met in Turkey with Hamas leaders, including Zakaria Najib, who was convicted of kidnapping the soldier Nahshon Waxman in 1994.

The indictment added that during his last month's visit to Turkey, Sabah's ​​responsibilities were expanded, and he was appointed as the head of Hamas in Jerusalem to advance its military activity in the city.

Sabah was asked to form and move military and organizational infrastructure in Jerusalem and prepare for Ramadan month.

It claimed that Mosab helped his father and formed a link with Hamas's leadership in Turkey, and Munib helped relay messages between the officials in Turkey and collected money on his father's behalf.

In 2012-2022, Tawtah collected nearly $150,000 for the charity to be transferred to the families and orphans affiliated with Hamas.

The charity had a total income of $8.6 million between 2007 and 2020, the indictment read, which were transferred to the martyrs' families.

The association also transferred a large part of the money to orphans not affiliated with Hamas.

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