The Shin Bet and North District of the Israel Police uncovered a terrorist, and arrested two residents of the northern Israeli town of Ein Mahil in the Lower Galilee - Rami Habibullah, 43, and Khaled Saleh, 36, on suspicion of trying to help Hamas carry out attacks on Israeli territory. Charges were filed against the two men on Sunday in the district court in Nazareth.
Habibullah is charged with the suspicion of making contact with Hamas operatives abroad, dealing with terrorist property, aiding the enemy in war, providing information to the enemy with the intention of harming the security of the state, and conspiracy to commit an offense that is an act of terrorism. Saleh was charged with conspiracy to commit an offense which is an act of terrorism.
According to the indictment filed by attorney Yael Katz from the Northern District Prosecutor's Office, Habibullah - a teacher and volunteer as an imam at a mosque - traveled to Turkey in 2022 as part of a humanitarian aid mission. During his trip, he met with two Hamas activists, with whom he was in contact until the time of his arrest, as well as with another activist he met a year later. As part of this relationship, Habibullah transferred tens of thousands of shekels to them at different times, with the aim of assisting, promoting and financing the activities of a terrorist organization.
On December 31, 2023, he went to Jordan, met one of the Hamas operatives in Amman and handed him $200. Before that, with the outbreak of the war on October 7, he considered going to the south and joining the Hamas terrorists. He contacted one of the Hamas operatives on Telegram and told him that he wanted to help the "brothers" and that he could forward photos of a "sensitive security location.""
The indictment states that: "After an attack on the hospital in Gaza, Habibullah became very angry, he saw Israel as responsible, and in his heart was filled with a decision to take revenge on the State of Israel. He left his house, took pictures of an essential security factory that produces ammunition for the security system, and sent them to a Hamas operative on Telegram. In addition , Rami sent the exact location of the factory using the GPS coordinates."
"Habibullah acted intentionally to harm the security of the state, in order to help Hamas in its war on Israel, and in order for Hamas to attack the factory and launch missiles at it," the indictment reads. The next day, a Hamas operative informed him in a voice message that he had passed on the location and photos and that the matter would be "handled" by Hamas in Gaza and not by Hamas in Lebanon. A few days later, a Hamas operative informed the defendant that both Lebanon's Hamas and Gaza's Hamas have no possibility of attacking the factory with missiles. In light of this, he asked the defendant to "take the initiative" and carry out an independent attack on the factory."
After the outbreak of the war, he also considered carrying out a shooting attack in Jerusalem and, in order to advance his plan, he turned to Khaled Saleh, who expressed his anger at what was happening in Gaza and his willingness to "stand up and carry out an activity" and conspired with him to carry out a "jihad" operation. Saleh even stated that he had people who can get as many weapons as Habibullah wanted, according to the indictiment.
The Shin Bet said in a statement that: “This is a serious activity by Israeli citizens who hatched a malicious plan with Hamas operatives while the State of Israel is in the middle of fighting against that terrorist organization.” The plan was thwarted in the initial stages even before the squad members had time to carry out the plan for terrorist activity inside Israel, according to the Shin Bet.
"This case illustrates how much the determination of the security forces led to the capture of the terrorists and thus prevented the attacks that would have resulted in heavy casualties among the citizens of Israel," according to Deputy Superintendent Eyal Harari, commander of the Central Unit of the Northern District.
Lawyer Ramzi Katilat, Habibullah's defense attorney, said: "The indictment is the result of an investigation in which measures were taken to drastically reduce my client's rights, and hence the path to the loss of free will is extremely short. We will study the investigation materials in depth and respond in detail in court."
A relative of Habibullah said that "these are lies that have no basis. All the money was intended for donations and not for carrying out terrorist attacks or any other security incident. Everyone knows him, he never thought of harming others."
The Ministry of Education responded: "The teacher is employed by the local authority, and since his arrest he no longer teaches at the school. The Ministry will act in accordance with the findings in his case."