Security forces said on Wednesday they thwarted a potential missile attack by Islamic Jihad in Gaza against its naval forces that also included a plan to kidnap IDF soldiers.
The State Attorney’s Office indicted the alleged ringleader, Amin Saadi Muhammad Jumaa, in Beersheba District Court on Wednesday.
The IDF charged that this was the latest in a string of attacks by Islamic Jihad in Gaza against Israel, including the terror tunnel it had dug under the border that was discovered in October 2017.
Islamic Jihad had also fired mortars from Gaza into Israel last November and December, the IDF said.
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) published information about the alleged terrorist plot now, during the first week of what is planned to be a six-week popular Gaza protest, called the “Great March of Return
.” Starting last Friday, thousands of Palestinians in the Strip gathered by the Israeli border fence, some attempting to break through it.
The naval plot “proves the true intentions of the terrorist organizations in Gaza, which are trying to disguise their murderous intentions by provocative actions against the security fence. Their sole purpose is to provide a cover under which terrorists can carry out attacks against Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman tweeted ironically that he hoped this time the Israeli Left would not demand an investigation into activities of the Shin Bet and the IDF in foiling the plot.
He added that Israeli citizens could depend on the army to thwart the complex challenges on the Gaza border.
The IDF released a video to the media that showed how on March 12, naval commandos boarded a Gaza fishing vessel from Rafah that had sailed beyond the permissible nautical distance. “Get on the floor and put your hands up,” the commandos told the 10 Palestinians, including Jumaa, before arresting them.
The Shin Bet said that during his interrogation, Jumaa, who was born in Gaza in 1994, confessed to a plot by which one Gazan fishing vessel would act as a decoy, forcing an Israel Navy ship to approach it.
At that moment Palestinians on board a second fishing boat would fire a Cornet shipto- ship rocket at the naval vessel.
Palestinians would then board that vessel from a third ship, so they could kidnap soldiers who survived the attack.
Islamic Jihad, with Jumaa’s help, had been gathering intelligence about the navy off the Gaza coast to prepare for the attack, the Shin Bet said.
According to the indictment, Jumaa turned to Islamic Jihad in 2016, and in 2017 it was suggested that he become a secret member and undergo secret training. He was recruited for the naval plot in August 2017 for a fee of $5,000 after Israel blew up an Islamic Jihad attack tunnel from Gaza into Israel, killing a number of its terrorists.
In 2017 and 2018 he went out on Gaza fishing boats to collect information about how the navy operated and how many sailors were on board its ships. Jumaa also took photographs with his cellphone, which he transferred to Islamic Jihad along with information on how best to carry out the attack.
According to the indictment, he was able to hide his phone when the IDF boarded his fishing vessel on March 12.
The prosecutor’s office charged that this was not Jumaa’s first involvement in terrorist-related activity. Six years ago he helped Hamas smuggle 300 kilograms of explosives by boat from Egypt to Gaza.
Four years ago he was paid $6,000 to help smuggle 150 barrels of fiberglass through a tunnel that ran from Egypt to Gaza. Three years ago he used a tunnel to smuggle four Kalashnikov rifles and a pistol into Gaza.
The state has asked the court for a life sentence for his involvement in terrorist activity and for transferring information to the enemy.
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