A Hamas operative who fled to Israel after facing persecution from the group and "family issues" brought in a trove of valuable intelligence on the Gaza terrorist faction, Shin Bet security service said Thursday.
The organization named the man as Izz al-Din Hussein, a 24-year-old member of the Hamas air defense unit from Jabaliya in northern Gaza, who swam to Israel from the coastal enclave and was immediately arrested by the Israel Defense Forces.
The Shin Bet said that Hussein told investigators he was drafted into the military wing of Hamas in 2013. From 2018 until his detention, he was a member of the Hamas air defense unit, holding a command position as head of a squadron using shoulder-fired missiles.
"As part of his role, he stored an anti-aircraft missile in his home and was instructed to launch it at an Israeli helicopter, ensuring it landed near his home in Gaza, for the purpose of killing or abducting Israeli soldiers," the Shin Bet said.
As part of his activities in Hamas, Hussein took part in various training and military activities against Israel.
He studied Israeli Air Force aircraft and their deployments, anti-aircraft missiles as well as binoculars and cameras in order to observe the movement of Israeli aircraft in the skies over the Strip.
"His activities in Hamas and the vast knowledge he acquired through this framework have been a unique source of intelligence that provided the Shin Bet with a great deal of information" about group, the organization said.
Initial reports identified the fugitive as an officer with Hamas naval commandos. The group confirmed his departure but claimed he did not have access to any major information.
After he was questioned, the prosecutor's office for the Southern District filed an indictment against Hussein in Be'er Sheva District Court.
The indictment states that on June 28, the defendant decided to cross the maritime border by swimming from the Gaza Strip into Israel in order to be arrested.
Naval troops spotted him while swimming in Israeli waters in the area of Zikim Beach, and arrested him.
He now faces charges of serious security offenses, including membership in a terrorist organization, holding senior position in a terrorist organization, operating a weapon for purposes of terrorism, prohibited military training, weapons offenses, infiltration and more.