'Hamas recruited 2 students to carry out attacks'
Shin Bet uncovers activity of east Jerusalem residents who studied abroad, were allegedly sent by Palestinian organization to locate potential terror targets in Israel, carry out attacks. Pair charged with contact with foreign agent, espionage, membership in terror organization, aiding enemy during wartime
The Shin Bet arrested two east Jerusalem residents suspected of being recruited by Hamas during their time in Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and gathering information on potential terror targets in Israel, it was cleared for publication.
An indictment was filed against the pair with the Jerusalem District Court on Monday. The two were charged with espionage, membership in a terror organization, contact with a foreign agent and aiding the enemy during wartime.
The two are suspected to have collected the videos, photographs, charts and information on a USB flash drive which they transferred to their handlers in Saudi Arabia. They were then meant to receive explosives. They also prepared a cave near Sataf, in the Judean Hills, and expanded it to use as a hiding place for weapons.
Murad Kamal, 24, from Wadi Joz in Jerusalem, and Murad Nimer, 24 from Tzur Baher, also in the capital, both carry Israeli IDs. They were arrested on January 3 at the central bus station in Beersheba. A third person was arrested with them, but suspicion that he was aware of their activity was refuted.
According to the Shin Bet, at the request of their Hamas handlers, Nimer and Kamal began collecting information which included photographs and sketches of potential terror targets, including the central bus station and Malcha Mall in Jerusalem, the central bus station in Beersheba, the hotel area on the Tel Aviv coast, bus stops in Jerusalem and Mevasseret, and the area surrounding the Tel Hashomer military base, where many soldiers are concentrated.
Took note of number of soldiers, JewsNimer studied engineering in Jordan between 2003 and 2007, and was recruited to Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military wing, during a trip to Saudi Arabia at an unknown date.
In 2007, Nimer recruited Kamal, who was studying pharmacy in Jordan at the time. According to the indictment, the two knew each other from high school.
In 2008 Nimer moved to Dubai where he worked as a engineer and continued to meet with Hamas elements in a number of places, including Turkey.
The two returned to Israel in 2009, and upon their return, began work on their mission – to collect information on locations in Israel. The two traveled the country seeking crowded sites. They filmed videos, took photographs, and prepared maps and sketches of malls (at the central bust station and Malcha Mall in Jerusalem).
Since neither of them had a driver's license, they used Nimer's cousin, Ma'amun Nimer, who was unaware of their plans, to drive them around. They told Ma'amun that they had to take pictures of different locations around the country as part of an academic assignment.
The three drove around the country every weekend of July to document Israel's highways and main roads. Nimer and Kamal occasionally received funds from Hamas elements to cover the expenses of their activity.
The two photographed the sings along the roads and Nimer transferred the images to his laptop, along with a description of each route, including its length, the signs on the road, and more.
The suspects also examined how many Jews and soldiers could be found at each site, and took note of the security measures in the various locations. The information collected was saved on a USB flash drive. Last August Nimer visited Saudi Arabia with the processed information, and transferred it to Hamas operatives whose identities are unknown.
According to the Shin Bet, the cell's members used their rights as holders of Israeli IDs to collect the information and seek out weaknesses in security in Israel's crowded sites.
The Shin Bet said this affair points to yet another case of the terror organizations' efforts – Hamas in particular – to recruit students, with emphasis on those that specialize in chemistry and engineering, for military activity.
Aviad Glickman contributed to this report