Arab Israelis charged with passing Hamas funds

Two allegedly gave money to security prisoners, passed hundreds of thousands of dollars to be deposited in Chinese bank.

A member of the Kassam Brigades (photo credit: REUTERS/Ismail Zaydah)
A member of the Kassam Brigades
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ismail Zaydah)
The Acre Magistrate’s Court agreed on Monday to a police request to lift a gag order preventing the publication of details relating to two Arab Israelis indicted for security offenses.
The decision came as the Haifa district attorney served indictments in the city’s district court on Monday against the two men, Mahmoud Agbaria and Muhammad Agbaria, charging them with providing services to illegal organizations, performing transactions with terrorist property and performing a transaction in property for the purpose of terror.
The first charge was made under the Defense (Emergency) Regulations Law and the second two under the Prohibition on Terror Financing Law.
According to the indictments, the men, both from Musmus, north of Umm el-Fahm, are accused of transferring money from illegal organizations, including terror group Hamas and the Gaza-based al-Nur Prisoner Society for former security prisoners, to security prisoners’ families and to Hamas activists. The money was to compensate the prisoners for their work for terror groups and for serving sentences in Israeli prisons, the indictments allege.
The two defendants were also charged with passing hundreds of thousands of US dollars to a third man, who deposited it in a Chinese bank so that it could be used to benefit security prisoners.
The indictments allege that an Eritrean intermediary helped the defendants transfer funds from Hamas and al-Nur between November 2011 and February 2012.
Allegedly, in November a Gaza resident named Abu Otman contacted the defendants and gave them a message, including the cellphone number of the Eritrean intermediary and a sum of money that they needed to receive from him.
Mohammed and Mahmoud met the Eritrean on multiple occasions at the old central bus station in Tel Aviv, the indictment says, where he would give them the money. Allegedly, the two would then report back to Abu Otman in Gaza.
On a later occasion, Abu Otman gave Muhammad and Mahmoud instructions and details of released security prisoners and prisoners’ families who were to be the beneficiaries of the transferred funds, the indictment further alleges.
The two defendants allegedly contacted the beneficiaries, and arranged to meet them in various places in Hebron, Tul Karm, Jenin, Bethlehem and Ramallah in order to pass them the money.
In the same way, the indictment says, Muhammad and Mahmoud transferred large sums of cash to a man named Amar Marai, from Barta’a, a town on both sides of the Green Line, so that he could transfer the money to accounts in a Chinese bank to be used for security prisoners and their families.
When Marai was arrested at an IDF roadblock, security forces found sums of $126,650 and NIS 80,000 on his person, which he had allegedly just received from the two defendants.
Later on Monday, Haifa District Court Judge Ron Shapira ruled to extend the remand of both defendants, saying that there is a sufficient evidentiary basis to hold them temporarily, pending a further remand hearing.