Haniyeh's Israeli sisters charged with visiting Gaza without permit

State keeps details of reported arrest of senior Gaza terrorist in Egypt under wraps.

Ismail Haniyeh on a chair, looking expressive 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Ismail Haniyeh on a chair, looking expressive 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Southern District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday filed an indictment with the Beersheba Magistrate’s Court against two sisters of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh for illegally crossing into Gaza to visit him.
The two – Tzav’ah Bat Abud Elsalem Haniyeh and Leila Bat Abud Elsalem Abu Rakik – had previously requested permission to cross into Gaza for the visit and Israel had denied their request.
The sisters became Israeli citizens after marrying Israelis.
According to the prosecution, the two women entered Gaza via Egypt to circumvent the ban on their traveling to the Strip.
Meanwhile, in another drama impacting the Israel- Gaza-Egypt borders, both the Justice Ministry and the courts spokesman refused to provide any details on developments or any scheduled hearings in the highly publicized indictment of Gazan Waail Abu Rida, accused of 36 counts of terrorism, and according to foreign media reports, kidnapped in Egypt by some arm of the defense establishment and brought to Israel for trial around a month ago.
Abu Rida is accused of serving, at different stages between 2003 and 2011, as a senior terrorist agent for Hamas, Islamic Jihad and an armed wing of Fatah.
The indictment alleges that he participated in and organized numerous attacks against IDF tanks and troops, and planned operations to kidnap soldiers.
At one point, Abu Rida trained around 40 terrorists in assembling explosives and sharp-shooting, said the indictment.
During Operation Cast Lead in December 2008-January 2009, Abu Rida allegedly commanded four Islamic Jihad units in combat and set booby traps against IDF soldiers.
At the time of his arrest, he had in his possession four bombs ranging between 15 and 25 kilograms in size and stored in a shed.
Though Abu Rida was indicted on Friday, he was originally due to be indicted on Tuesday.
A surprise decision by the prosecution to expedite the indictment seemed designed to procedurally quash a motion filed by Yediot Aharonot to expose details of his capture, since he was being held and a gag order on those details was in place without Abu Rida having been indicted.
Following the indictment, the Beersheba Magistrate’s Court reportedly denied the motion to expose the details on the grounds that an indictment was filed before it had to decide what the law would have been absent an indictment.
The courts spokesman refused to give further details regarding the case besides the indictment, citing the gag order and special national security issues applying to the case.
A major human rights group that was contacted regarding the gag order, the possible kidnapping from Egypt and the national security issues, said it was not getting involved in the case.