Shin Bet foils Hamas attempt to recruit Israeli-Arab mother

Ayia Khatib was arrested in February after being recruited by two Hamas operatives in the Gaza Strip

Palestinians take part in a rally marking the 31st anniversary of Hamas' founding, in Gaza City (photo credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA / REUTERS)
Palestinians take part in a rally marking the 31st anniversary of Hamas' founding, in Gaza City
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) recently foiled an attempt by Hamas to recruit an Israeli woman as a terrorist operative, the agency said Sunday.
On February 17, the Shin Bet, in a joint operation with Israel Police, arrested Ayia Khatib, 31, a resident of the northwestern village of Arara. Khatib, a mother of two, was recruited by Gazan Hamas operatives Muhammed Pilpel, 29, a resident of Beit Lahiya, and Mahmoud Halua, 32, from Jabaliya.
Ayia Khatib (Credit: Shin Bet)Ayia Khatib (Credit: Shin Bet)
According to the Shin Bet, Khatib, who engaged in humanitarian activities for needy Gazans, was recruited to carry out missions for Hamas including financing the group’s terrorist operations and infrastructure. She subsequently gathered intelligence to help carry out terrorist attacks against Israeli targets.
Communication between Khatib and her two handlers, agents in Hamas’s “military” wing, Izzadin al-Qassam, was carried out secretly.
The Shin Bet said Khatib provided the terrorist groups with hundreds of thousands of shekels by scamming aid organizations and innocent civilians who donated funds with the aim of helping patients and the needy and utilizing the plight of patients who were granted humanitarian permits for medical treatment and business activity in Israel for residents of the Gaza Strip.
“Part of the money Khatib transferred to Hamas operatives was for clear terrorist purposes, including helping to build tunnels, build a lathe and erect structures for Hamas’s ongoing activities,” the Shin Bet said.
In addition, Khatib is said to have given Hamas equipment for military operatives as well as examining options on how to transfer sensitive equipment that could be used to build tunnels and to observe IDF troops. The findings of the Shin Bet investigation also showed that Khatib provided Hamas with information about the movement of military forces during one of the rounds of fighting with the Gaza Strip.
“Hamas in the Gaza Strip continues to cynically exploit the humanitarian conditions to promote terror activities,” the Shin Bet said.
“The Shin Bet will continue to thwart any hostile espionage activities by terror organizations in the Gaza Strip and considers the exploitation of Israeli citizens for assistance in terrorist activities very harshly.”
A prosecutor’s statement and an indictment against Khatib will be filed in the Acre Magistrate’s Court in the coming days.