The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) announced on Thursday that it has obtained a treasure trove of information after capturing a Hamas member who sneaked into Israel with the intention of killing Israelis.
Mahmoud Atauna, 29, from Jabalya in the Gaza Strip, was arrested on April 16.
He was in possession of two knives, and during subsequent questioning, “it was revealed that he intended to murder soldiers or civilians that he happened to encounter in Israeli territory,” the Shin Bet said.
The investigation also resulted in much information being gleaned about Hamas’s tunnel activities, the agency added.
Atauna was involved in the activities of Hamas’s military wing, including planting bombs against IDF soldiers, and mostly, in tunnel activities during recent years.
“Atauna told his interrogators much about the physical features of tunnels in northern Gaza, about techniques used by Hamas in digging them, and about the use of private homes and institutions by Hamas, from which it digs the tunnels.
“He also provided information on the means and materials Hamas uses,” the Shin Bet said.
“During questioning, Atauna pointed to many digging centers, and to tunnel shafts that are supposed to serve the Nuhba [Hamas’s elite unit] operatives for attacks during fighting with Israel,” the agency stated.
“Atauna said Hamas set up a network of tunnels branching out in Gaza for the passage of fighters and weapons. The tunnel includes waiting rooms and has showers and dining tables, to improve the living conditions of Hamas fighters,” according to the Shin Bet.
The Izzadin Kassam (Hamas’s military branch) member provided the names of “many operatives who worked with him in the Eastern Battalion of Hamas’s Northern Brigade, and received information on the use of hospitals and civilians for the storage of weapons.”
The investigation also revealed that Atauna’s home was a storage center for many weapons, including bombs, assault rifles, and suicide bomb vests, which he was supposed to distribute before a large-scale conflict with Israel broke out.
“Atauna is one of a series of military Hamas members who are under Shin Bet investigations at this time, and these investigations have revealed a lot of internal information on Hamas’s activities in tunnels,” the Shin Bet said.
Southern District prosecutors have charged the suspect in the Beersheba District Court.