Israel Police and the Shin Bet announced on Friday that it had uncovered a Hamas operation which had been taking place in recent years in Jerusalem.
In February, three family members from the Sur Baher neighborhood of east Jerusalem were arrested immediately after they landed in Israel on suspicion of being involved in crimes connected to a terrorist organization. The investigation found that an association they worked at called "Lajnat Zakat al-Quds" was being used as a platform to transfer money and support to families of terrorists, while claiming to be an association for supporting orphans.
The suspects are Khaled Sabah, and his two sons Munib and Musa'ab
According to the GuideStar database run by the Justice Ministry, the organization's stated mission in 2021 was to "collect tithes and provide charity to the poor and needy." In 2020, the association received over NIS 1,600,000 in donations from within Israel.
An additional suspect from Bet Hanina was arrested by police as well. In an investigation conducted with the Tax Authority, a large amount of property, including cash amounting to NIS 500,000 and vehicles, was seized and a number of bank accounts were frozen.
A number of the suspects also underwent shooting training outside of Israel.
Khaled Sabah was appointed as head of Hamas in Jerusalem while meeting with Hamas officials Khaled Atoun and Musa Akari in Turkey. The two Hamas officials were released from Israeli prisons as part of the deal to release captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.
Sabah was also tasked with recruiting new operatives for Hamas, collecting more funds and additional operations. Sabah also discussed operations planned for the upcoming month of Ramadan with the two Hamas officials, including large clashes with security forces.
The arrest of the four suspects has been extended for the purposes of the investigation and an indictment will be issued against them on Friday. The suspects were investigated on charges of being part of and managing a terrorist organization, providing services to a terrorist organization, tax crimes and money laundering, among other crimes.
"Senior Hamas figures outside Israel are constantly working to recruit activists in Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem in order to promote terrorist activity," said police. "Israel Police and the Shin Bet will continue to work together with other elements to thwart Hamas' recruitment and intensification efforts within Jerusalem, while locating and addressing all those who express a willingness to assist in these efforts - in order to increase the security of the country's residents and prevent harm to its citizens."