Hamas terrorism network operating out of the West Bank city of Hebron was uncovered by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), the agency announced Tuesday.
The network recruited dozens of agents, including several women, who operated in coordination with Hamas headquarters abroad, as well as in the Gaza Strip, in order to promote terrorism, according to the Shin Bet.
Their investigation found that the suspects promoted Hamas activities in Hebron, including the recruitment of operatives.
The suspects coordinated activities in mosques, and were involved with preaching, increasing support circles, propaganda and incitement activities, and assistance to prisoners’ families, the Shin Bet said.
The suspects allegedly passed along intelligence and transferred funds to finance terrorism activities.
The cell is also said to have attempted to take over Hebron’s municipal activities and various charities in the city. At its head were Nizar Shehadeh and Faras Abu Sharah – both senior Hamas operatives who had served several sentences in Israeli prisons for terrorism offenses.
According to the Shin Bet, Shehadeh and Abu Sharah recruited a number of women who established a central committee to serve as the operational arm of the headquarters.
The committee was headed by Dina Karmi, the widow of Nashat Karmi, a Hamas terrorist who carried out an attack in 2010 in which four Israeli civilians were killed.
Karmi was killed in a 2014 shootout with IDF forces.
Abu Sharaf and Shehadeh acted behind the scenes by conveying instructions to the women to promote the terror group’s activity on the ground.
Over the years, the committee expanded its activity by mobilizing dozens of activists for Hamas and establishing numerous subcommittees.
Within this framework, a number of activists were also sent outside the country to meetings with Hamas commanders who were expelled following the 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange. In one of the meetings, they met in Turkey with Haroun Nasser Adin to receive money, messages and instructions.
“The exposure of the infrastructure proves once again that the Hamas headquarters in the Gaza Strip and abroad are directing Hamas activities in Judea and Samaria, through of any means at their disposal, including through the use of women,” read the Shin Bet statement.
“These elements are constantly working to inflame Hamas activity in the West Bank and to this end recruit emissaries traveling on the route between the West Bank and abroad for the purpose of transferring terrorist funds and messages to operatives in the field,” it added.
Several members of the cell, including Faras Abu Sharah, Dina Karmi and a number of other suspects were indicted in a West Bank military court for membership in a terrorist group and for holding a position in an illegal association.