Israel recently arrested a Hamas agent accused of traveling to the West Bank and then Israel under the guise of needing medical treatment in order to set up an explosives lab, the Shin Bet security agency said Wednesday.
Fadi Abu al-Sabah, 35, was recruited by Hamas in July of 2018 and trained by the terror group’s military wing for about a year. He was taught to create explosives and bombs with the aim of carrying out attacks against Israelis, the Shin Bet said.
According to a statement from the security service, al-Sabah was recruited by Hamas operative Ashraf Sabah, who was released from Israeli prison in 2015 after serving 12 years for bomb attacks against IDF troops in the Gaza border.
Hamas became interested in al-Sabah, who has a prosthetic limb, because he was in the process of acquiring a humanitarian permit to receive medical treatment in the West Bank. However, the Shin Bet also accused him and Hamas of having a doctor falsify documents to claim the treatment he sought was only available outside of Gaza in order to get the permit. The Shin Bet did not explain why the documents needed to be falsified or why al-Sabah had applied for the permit in the first place.
Before crossing to the West Bank via Israel last September, al-Sabah received a coat in which was hidden a list of code words for the purpose of communications between Hamas leaders and the planned West Bank cell. However, he failed to bring it through for unspecified reasons.
In early May, he traveled to Hebron, where he joined up with other contacts, and on May 18 he entered Israel and traveled to the Israeli Arab town of Taybeh, where he was arrested by Shin Bet and Israeli police.
He has now been indicted at a military court in the West Bank, though the Shin Bet did not detail the charges.
Shin Bet sad it had in recent months thwarted several attempts by Hamas to establish infrastructure in the West Bank with the purpose of carrying out terror attacks in Israel.
In March the Israeli military arrested a Hamas operative suspected of planning a suicide car bombing to coincide with Israel’s national elections in April.
And in June, the Shin Bet said it arrested a Jordanian national acting on behalf of Iranian intelligence to establish a spy network in Israel and the West Bank.