Four Palestinian students from the West Bank were arrested by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) after working with Hamas to advance terrorist attacks against Israelis, the Shin Bet announced on Monday.
A Shin Bet investigation found that Ahmed Mahmoud Abu Salah, 24, a resident of the West Bank, traveled to Turkey and was recruited to the Hamas terrorist organization with the help of Hamas operative Iyad Aldin Akra.
Abu Salah received military training in Turkey and Syria, including weapons training and learning how to produce explosives. Before returning to the West Bank, Abu Salah met with Hamas official Azzam Akra who asked him to receive weapons and funds and to recruit and train additional terrorists in order to establish a cell to carry out terrorist attacks.
After Ahmed was arrested, three other Palestinians, Oyes Mahmoud Abu Salah, 20, Salah Mahmoud Abu Salah, 23, and Hasin Fauz Akra, 25, were arrested by the IDF for interrogation by the Shin Bet.
The Shin Bet found that Oyes and Hasin had agreed to be recruited into Hamas and even intended to go through training in the Gaza Strip. Oyes planned to carry out multiple terrorist attacks, including a bombing attack together with Salah. The three were also involved in throwing stones at police officers at al-Aqsa Mosque in April 2022 during Ramadan.
The four were also in touch with a relative of theirs, Abada Abu Salah, the son of Hamas official Salah Abu Salah.
Abada operated according to the directives of Salah al-Arouri and other Hamas officials in Turkey and exploited his relation to the four and their time spent studying in Turkey in order to recruit them into Hamas.
The four have been indicted on serious security charges.
"The Shin Bet views with severity Hamas's attempts abroad to recruit young people from the West Bank, who embark on academic studies abroad, for terrorist activities against the State of Israel, and will continue to act with the IDF and Israel Police to thwart any dangers to national security."Shin Bet
"The Shin Bet views with severity Hamas's attempts abroad to recruit young people from the West Bank, who embark on academic studies abroad, for terrorist activities against the State of Israel, and will continue to act with the IDF and Israel Police to thwart any dangers to national security," said the Shin Bet.
Hamas officials in Turkey orchestrating terrorism against Israelis
Hamas officials in Turkey, especially Arouri, have orchestrated a series of terrorist cells and operations in recent years.
In October, three Israeli citizens from northern Israel were indicted for helping build a cyber threat against communications infrastructure used by the IDF and for providing sensitive information to Hamas in Turkey.
The main suspect in that case, identified as R.A., worked as a software engineer at Cellcom, which provides services to the IDF and police. The suspect had broad access privileges to the company's computer and information systems.
Like the students caught recently, R.A. also met with Azzam Akra, who requested access to Cellcom's computer and information systems during the meetings.
In November 2021, the Shin Bet revealed that it had thwarted a massive Hamas terrorist network including over 50 members planning attacks in Israel and the West Bank, including suicide bombings in both the West Bank and Israel proper.
The network was founded and led by Arouri who lives in Turkey.