Hamas ‘council’ uncovered in east Jerusalem

Shin Bet arrests five senior members, saying they were involved in illegal fundraising and other activities.

Hamas terrorists 300 (photo credit: REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)
Hamas terrorists 300
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) announced Tuesday that it has broken up a Hamas terrorist council operating in Jerusalem and overseen by a group of senior operatives who are residents of the city.
The five suspects, alleged to be senior members of the council, were charged on Tuesday at the Jerusalem District Court with serving in a terrorist organization and money laundering. The State Prosecutor’s Office asked the court to extend their remand until the end of legal proceedings.
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According to the Shin Bet, the council was trying to bolster Hamas’s presence and activities in Jerusalem and was operating secretly to raise funds overseas and smuggle the money into Israel. A number of religious and educational committees operated under the council’s auspices and were responsible for various activities, the ultimate goal being to strengthen the ties of east Jerusalem residents with Hamas.
Alleged to have been heading the council is Yakoub Abu Atzab, 39, a resident of the Old City. The Shin Bet said he was convicted in 2005 by a military court for smuggling funds into the West Bank to finance Hamas activities ahead of the 2006 parliamentary elections.
According to the Shin Bet, the council succeeded in raising NIS 2.5 million and bringing it into east Jerusalem through fictitious contracts. It added that past experience had proved that Hamas civilian activities inside Jerusalem lead to terrorist activities. As an example, the Shin Bet referred to the Hamas terrorist who earlier this year planted a bomb near the Jerusalem Central Bus Station, killing a British tourist and wounding 47 others. The terrorist, it said, had been active in Hamas civilian institutions prior to his arrest.