The Shin Bet arrested a Hamas operative who was gathering intelligence for the terrorist organization within Israel under the guise of being a merchant.
Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip employed him to carry out various missions within Israel, during which he held meetings to promote terrorist activity, as well as to gather intelligence about Shin Bet agents.
Sabar Mahmoud Yousef Abu Thabat, a 28-year-old resident of Deir al-Balah was arrested for questioning in November at the Erez crossing while trying to enter Israel from Gaza.
According to the Shin Bet, Abu Thabat, who had a permit to enter Israel for commercial purposes, held several meetings with Hamas operatives at the Beit Hanoun crossing to “promote terror activity and collect intelligence information.”
The agency said that among the tasks that Hamas asked him to carry out was to reveal the identity of Shin Bet agents and to gather intelligence on sites in Israel.
What came up during his investigation?
During his investigation, the Shin Bet said that he provided intelligence about the operating methods of the terror group’s intelligence apparatus including the identity of agents, the location of tunnels, as well as stockpiles of weapons and military locations where the group operates.
The Shin Bet said that Abu Thabat “took advantage of his stays in Israel, which were intended to give him the opportunity to work in Israel and provide for his family, for the benefit of providing intelligence information to his Hamas operatives and with full awareness of the implications.”
Following the investigation, his case was transferred to the prosecutor's office in the Southern District. An indictment will be filed against him for serious security offenses.
The investigation of Abu Thabat comes shortly after the case of 31-year-old Fathi Ziad Zakot, a resident of Rafiah in the southern Gaza Strip who also had a permit to work in Israel and who had been recruited by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group to plant a bomb on a bus in the south of the country.
In June Israel increased the number of labor permits for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by an additional 2,000 for a total of 14,000. Defense Minister Benny Gantz had earlier announced that Israel would allow a total of 20,000 Gazan workers into Israel in an attempt to ease some restrictions on Gaza’s civilian population in exchange for quiet in the South.
“The Shin Bet views with great seriousness any intention to carry out terror activity and espionage from the Gaza Strip, and will continue to work together with the Israel Police and the IDF in order to locate and thwart in advance any hostile activity on the part of any person operating on behalf of Hamas.”