'Terrorist freed for Schalit plotted W. Bank attack'

Shin Bet says terrorist released in Schalit prisoner swap allegedly recruited Palestinian man to carry out attack on Israelis.

Schalit deal prisoners 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Schalit deal prisoners 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Security forces arrested a Palestinian man from Nablus on suspicion of plotting to carry out a terrorist attack, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) announced in a statement on Wednesday.
The suspect, 24-year-old Amir Brakhat, had made the Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca, where he met and was recruited by Amir Dukan, a convicted terrorist from Nablus whom Israel released to the Gaza Strip as part of the 2011 Schalit prisoner exchange.
Dukan offered Brakhat $60,000 to open fire at Israeli traffic near Nablus or hurl a grenade at the IDF checkpoint located in Hawara, the investigation revealed.
“Upon his return [from Saudi Arabia], Brakhat got in touch with Dukan and said he was prepared to carry out the attack. He tried to obtain a gun,” the Shin Bet said.
“This investigation again illustrates the attempts by terrorist organizations to promote their activity in the West Bank through the increased use of ex-prisoners released in the Schalit deal,” the security agency continued.
“In this context, the Umrah is exploited for meetings on Saudi territory, for the passing of messages, ideas and plans to carry out acts of terrorism.”
The Shin Bet has observed an increase in the number of terrorist plots involving ex-security prisoners who were among the 1,200 prisoners released by Israel in 2011 in exchange for the return of IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, who was held captive in Gaza for over five years by Hamas.
The security agency also announced on Wednesday that it arrested two men on suspicion of attempting to smuggle Hamas money earmarked for terrorism from Jordan to the West Bank.
Moreover, the money was traced back to the very same Amir Dukan at the center of the first investigation, the agency noted. The men had hidden 10,000 euros and $900 in cigarette cartons.
The two men were charged on March 13 at the Samaria Military Court with a range of offenses, including aiding the enemy, contact with the enemy and attempting to carry out a service for an illegal organization.
The Shin Bet said Hamas regularly attempts to use couriers to smuggle cash from Jordan to the West Bank via the Allenby Bridge border crossing located near Jericho.