The head of Hamas in the West Bank since 2010, who was recently arrested, was indicted on Thursday in the Judea and Samaria military court for organizing possibly dozens of terrorist cells for a wave of kidnappings, suicide bus bombings and attacks on settlements.
Arrested on May 27 before Operation Brother’s Keeper, Riad Natzer is accused of raising more than NIS 1.5 million for terrorist operations, buying weapons for his operatives and organizing them into cells – each trained for a different kind of terrorist activity.
The arrest and the court case were under gag order, but the order was removed on Thursday with the filing of the indictment.
As part of Natzer’s alleged plans, weapons were concealed in designated spots throughout the West Bank, with instructions passed on to other operatives who would use the weapons – all in preparation for the day Natzer would activate the operatives to carry out their attacks.
Natzer had been in jail, and it was allegedly fellow prisoner Salah Aruri who brought him into his role of directing Hamas’s efforts to recreate its West Bank infrastructure.
According to the allegations, Natzer was originally supposed to split the powers of running Hamas’s “military operations” with another Hamas leader, one of them focusing on raising funds and one on gathering weapons. But when the other leader was arrested, Natzer allegedly took over operations completely.
Purportedly known for running Hamas’s terrorist operations “with lust” for his job, Natzer recruited many operatives, and his arrest led to the arrests of dozens of those operatives.