Bedouin Israeli brothers charged with supplying arms to Islamic Jihad in West Bank
Shin Bet says Adam and Mohammed Abu Taha, residents of Tel Sheva, supplied 150,000 rounds of ammo, dozens of weapon parts to terror group in Jenin
Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.
The Shin Bet security agency on Thursday said two Israeli brothers from a southern Bedouin town were arrested for allegedly supplying Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives in the West Bank with firearm parts and ammunition.
In December 2022, Border Police troops detained Adam and Mohammed Abu Taha, residents of Tel Sheva, as well as Majdi Amarna, a Palestinian from the West Bank village of Yabed, near Jenin, over the suspected illegal arms trade.
According to the Shin Bet, the Abu Taha brothers supplied some 150,000 rounds of ammunition and dozens of weapon parts to Islamic Jihad terror operatives in the Jenin area. A complete M16 rifle was seized from the two men during their arrest.
The pair also allegedly sold weapon parts to criminal elements in southern Israel.
Amid the investigation, two more Israeli civilians from the Negev area in southern Israel, Khaled Alaasem and Mughanim Alaasem, were detained over their alleged involvement in the case.
Indictments were filed against the Abu Taha brothers on Thursday at the Beersheba District Court, charging them with various weapons and security offenses.
Prosecutors said the pair knowingly assisted terror operatives: “This is not a one-time event, but rather a methodical and continuous course of action over a period of time that included ongoing and intensive contact and many meetings with PIJ operatives.”
An indictment against Amarna was to be filed at a military court in the coming days, and the two additional Israeli civilians were to be charged at the Beersheba court in the coming days too, the Shin Bet said.
In recent months, Palestinian gunmen — many of whom are PIJ members — have repeatedly targeted military posts, troops operating along the West Bank security barrier, Israeli settlements and civilians on the roads.
The case came at a time of rising violence in the West Bank, with the Israeli military pressing on with an anti-terror offensive to deal with a series of attacks that left 31 people in Israel dead in 2022, and seven more in an attack last month.
The IDF’s operation has netted more than 2,500 arrests in near-nightly raids. It also left 171 Palestinians dead in 2022, and another 42 since the beginning of the year, many of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, though some were uninvolved civilians.
“The Shin Bet and Israel Police take extremely seriously the involvement of Israeli citizens in security offenses, while providing service and assistance to terror organizations and their operatives, including the supply of weapons and ammunition, which has the potential to directly and substantially harm the security of the state,” the agency said in a statement, adding that it would work to foil such attempts “and bring those involved to justice.”