Shin Bet exposes extensive Hamas terror infrastructure, arrests over 50 terrorists in Judea and Samaria

November 23, 2021 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Israel’s combined security services have uncovered in recent weeks a large-scale Hamas terrorist infrastructure in Judea and Samaria, led by senior Hamas figures from abroad, which operated to carry out attacks, including suicide bombing, the Shin Bet security service revealed Monday.

IDF forces during the operation. (IDF)

The Shin Bet, the IDF, and the Israel Police have arrested more than 50 Hamas operatives throughout Judea and Samaria, who were involved in establishing the terrorist infrastructure, and seized funds, weapons, and equipment for making explosives.

The networks’ activities were funded and managed by senior Hamas figures from Lebanon, headed by Saleh Aruri, deputy chairman of the Hamas movement and head of Hamas’ military operation Judea and Samaria, a body located abroad that works to motivate Hamas activity in Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem.

Another prominent Hamas member connected to the network is Zakaria Najib, originally a resident of eastern Jerusalem, one of the abductors of the late soldier Nachshon Waxman, who was released in the Shalit deal in 2011. He works to promote Hamas activity in Judea and Samaria. In 2019, his involvement in planning an assassination attack on Israeli personalities was revealed. Zakaria has been identified as one of the main operatives involved in the effort to establish this recently exposed terrorist infrastructure.

Hamas members from various areas in Judea and Samaria were recruited for the terrorist infrastructure, including from the cities of Ramallah, Hebron and Jenin.

One of the main activists leading the establishment of the infrastructure in the area is Hijazi Qawasmeh, of the infamous Hamas-affiliated Qawasmeh clan in Hebron which members have been linked to multiple terror attacks over the years. Mahmoud Qawasmeh, another clan member, was deported to the Gaza Strip as part of the Shalit deal and is working from there to motivate Hamas activities in Judea and Samaria.

Qawasmeh, a 37-year-old known Hamas operative from Hebron, has been arrested several times in the past for operating for Hamas and planning terrorist attacks. He recruited activists in Judea and Samaria, including Hamza Zahran, a 40-year-old Hamas operative from the village of Bidu near Ramallah.

To promote the attack, Hijazi met with senior members of the Hamas headquarters abroad and was instructed to carry out the attacks. Hundreds of thousands of shekels were later handed over to him to finance the activity.

Zahran, who has been arrested several times in the past for involvement in Hamas activities and planning terrorist attacks, also joined the effort to establish a terrorist infrastructure and recruited his brother Ahmad Zahran and other family members. They used the funds received from abroad to obtain weapons and finance the production of explosives, which were subsequently seized during the Israeli activity to thwart the infrastructure.

On September 26, during the activity in the village of Bidu to arrest members of the infrastructure, Ahmad Zahran and two other Hamas members were killed during an exchange of fire with the Israeli security forces.

Shin Bet investigations led to the seizure of weapons, including an amount of explosives suitable for the construction of three or four explosive belts.

Muhammad Abu al-Hassan, a Hamas operative from Burkin, and Ghani Khadur, a Hamas operative from Beit Sira, were identified as the main figures involved in the production of the explosives.

The Shin Bet underscored that Hamas operatives from abroad and Gaza “continue, all the time, in efforts to recruit residents from Judea and Samaria for terrorist activity.”

These efforts include an ongoing flow of funding for diversified terrorist activities.

Another one of the senior Hamas operators is Musa Dudin, a Hamas member released in the Shalit deal, an associate and right-hand man of Saleh Aruri, who is involved in bringing in terrorist money through Hamas emissaries in Judea and Samaria, an activity that recently led to the thwarting of a Hamas terrorist infrastructure in the Hebron area.

A senior Shin Bet official stated Monday that its activities included “an extensive and significant thwarting of a dangerous terrorist infrastructure that planned a series of severe attacks.”

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