Cleared for publication: Shin Bet officers operating in Gaza Strip in May arrested Ayub Azam abu-Karim, 22, a wanted terror suspect linked to dozens of attacks in Israel.
Karim is a member of the "Defenders of al-Aqsa," a Hamas offshoot
dedicated to carrying out terror attacks against Israeli targets in manners which will not implicate its parent-organization.
Both the IDF and the Shin Bet conduct periodic sweeps near the Gaza border, according to relevant intelligence.
Karim's arrest was another indication of the existence of smaller terror entities in Gaza, which follow Hamas' orders without officially declaring their affiliation with it.
The indictment against Karim, filed recently with the Beersheba District Court, is comprised of 32 counts including attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, affiliation with an illegal entity, contacting a foreign agent, servicing an illegal entity, conspiracy to violate national security and breaching national security by giving information to an enemy agent; as well as a slew of contrabands and arms charges.
Karim told interrogators he joined Hamas in 2007 and served as a dispatcher in its "operations center," relaying information to Hamas troops fighting IDF soldiers in real-time.
He later graduated to reconnaissance and "actual" field work and was involved in dozens of attacks against Israeli targets, including placing explosives, shooting attacks and firing rockets and mortar shells.
Karim claimed he was recruited for "Defenders of al-Aqsa" but the head of the organization, a known Jabalya-based terrorist.
The investigation also uncovered the fact that the offshoot enjoyed funding directed by no other than Fathi Hamad – Hamas interior minister in Gaza – who is known to be closely affiliated with the group's military wing.