Hamas-linked operative 'who recruited terrorists in Egypt' nabbed

Shin Bet says investigation uncovers Hamas-run terror recruitment program, and Libyan weapons trafficking route.

Muhammad Nazal (photo credit: SHIN BET)
Muhammad Nazal
(photo credit: SHIN BET)
Security forces on Sunday announced the arrest of a suspected terrorist operative who allegedly belonged to a Hamas-linked group and was active in terrorism financing and recruitment of West Bank Palestinians in Egypt.
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), together with the Israel Police, arrested 33-year-old Muhammad Nazal, from Kabatiya in the West Bank, as he crossed from Jordan to Israel via the Allenby Bridge at the end of January. In 2007, security forces said, Nazal moved to Cairo to study.
In Egypt, he joined the Holy Warriors Battalion (Khatib al-Mujahadin) terrorist group, a Fatah-Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade splinter organization that adopted radical Islamic tendencies.
The group’s members have in recent years plotted a number of attacks against Israeli targets, including rocket fire, and attempts to set up attacks within Israel, the Shin Bet added.
This group “is in touch with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and receives funding and instructions from it,” the agency stated.
During questioning, Nazal told the Shin Bet that he sought to track down and recruit West Bank Palestinians studying in Egypt like him, sending them for military training in Gaza, before they would enter the West Bank as terrorist operatives.
The aim of the recruitment drive was to set up a “Hamas military infrastructure in Judea and Samaria,” security forces said.
The suspect also allegedly used an apartment in Cairo, owned by the Holy Warriors Battalion, for meetings with members from Gaza, which were attended by the head of the group, As’ad Abu Sharia.
Hamas members from Gaza met at the apartment too, the investigation found, as did operatives from other terrorist organizations.
“Nazal said during his interrogation that he was involved in the transfer of funds for the infrastructure, which were for carrying out military activities. He also talked about his awareness of a significant weapons trafficking route from the Libyan sector to Egypt, and from there, to the Gaza Strip,” the Shin Bet said.
Military prosecutors will charge the suspect at the Samaria District Military Court in the coming days.