Amsalem Amin Meri, 26, of the Arab town of Fureidis, attempted to recruit for Hamas and gather information for the purpose of carrying out terror attacks in Israel, according to an indictment filed with the Haifa District Court on Wednesday
The indictment states that Meri was recruited by the terror organization when he was in University Hebron.
Meri was arrested a month ago in a joint operation between Shin Bet and the police. The indictment charges him with contact with a foreign agent, aiding the enemy in times of war and providing services for an unlawful organization.
His interrogation by the Shin Bet revealed that Meri was recruited for the Hamas by Ibrahim Kesab a resident the Jericho area. The two met two years ago at a Hamas student organization (Al-Kutla Al-Islamia) meeting when they studied at the Islamic Hebron University.
During his interrogation Meri admitted that Ibrahim asked him to locate and transfer materials for the creation of explosives to the West Bank, recruit Israeli Arabs for military activities, find crowded locations for terror attacks and help smuggle a terrorist and explosives into Israel.
Meri intended to establish a Hamas military wing Israeli Arab terror cell and had even begun to recruit Ahmed Ziad Grib Abu al-Hof, 23. Al-Hof was arrested by the Shin Bet and interrogated where he said that he turned down Meri's offer.
He pointed out Machmed Abdullah Ali Iyash, an Imam from Jaffa as someone who had visited Gaza in the past and even met with Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the Hamas leader and received invitations to take part in military activities. Iyash was also arrested and interrogated but was released over suspicions that the accusations were false.
At the beginning of his remand hearing, Meri said: "My mistake was that I didn't respond with an immediate refusal, I had doubts and I didn't tell the Hamas representative yes or no. I consulted with a friend who told me to 'leave those things alone' and then I sent him the message that I didn't want to help him."
Meri claimed that he hadn't been in constant contact with a Hamas representative as stated in the indictment. "He surprised me at my home", said Meri in court, and came to see me once more in Umm al-Fahm, but I never meant to help a terror organization."
The Shin Bet claims that Meri turned to Imam Balal Ataf Mahmoud Mansour from Majd al-Krum in order to receive religious dispensation to carry out terror activities. Mansour was arrested and revealed during his interrogation that he tried to dissuade Meri from his intentions to carry out acts of terror.
Al-Hof and Mansour were released after their interrogations. Additional suspects who were arrested in conncetion with the case were released after further inquiries revealed that they weren't taking part in terrorist activities.
Jibril Rajoub's brother arrested
The prosecution has a number of testimonies from Israeli-Arabs who Meri attempted to recruit, according to prosecutor Hadas Rosenberg-Sheinratt. Recordings praising Yihi Ayash, or 'The Engineer', who was killed by Israel in 1996, were found among his belongings.
The prosecutor mentioned that Meri "showed ideological willingness to help the Hamas for a long time and was in constant contact with foreign agent Kesab, while being fully aware of Kesab's terror activities. His actions speak for themselves and show the critical level of his activities."
Meanwhile, The IDF arrested Naif Rajoub, Palestinian parliament member from the Hamas party in Hebron on Tuesday night. Rajoub, brother of Senior Fatah member Jibril Rajoub, was taken in for questioning from his house in the city of Hebron.
Over the past few weeks the IDF arrested two other Hamas parliament members, from Hebron and the parliament member Ramallah, Secretary-General of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Mahmoud Al Ramahi.
Ali Waked contributed to this report
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