Bedouin Israeli who snuck into Gaza in 2016 to join Hamas indicted after trying to return to Israel

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Juma Ibrahim Abu Ghanima, 26, a Bedouin Israeli who crossed into the Gaza Strip in 2016 and joined the Hamas terror group has been indicted after IDF troops detained him in December as he was trying to cross back into Israel, the Justice Ministry says.

According to the charge sheet, Abu Ghanima, a resident of Hashem Zana in the northern Negev, snuck into Gaza in July 2016, met up with a Hamas operative, and asked to join the terror group’s military wing.

Abu Ghanima was taken to be questioned by Hamas officials, where he revealed to them the locations of IDF bases in southern Israel, the indictment says.

According to the indictment, after three months of waiting in the homes of Hamas operatives, Abu Ghanima began military training with Hamas, including advanced training with the terror group’s elite Nukhba force which simulated attacks on Israeli towns and the capture of army posts.

During his time in Gaza, Abu Ghanima carried out various surveillance operations along the border and met with Hamas officials, the indictment says.

He is also accused of accepting other tasks, including shooting attacks on the border, returning to Israel to spy for Hamas and recruit others, as well as joining a crime gang in Israel to advance the terror group’s plans.

The indictment says that in 2021, Hamas jailed Abu Ghanima for two years for his “failure to comply with the limitations imposed on him.”

Due to IDF strikes near the jail where he was held on December 7, 2023, all of the prisoners were freed.

Three days later, Abu Ghanima attempted to cross back into Israel, where he was detained by IDF troops. He was then taken to be interrogated by the Shin Bet security agency.

Abu Ghanima is charged with several serious security offenses, including conspiring to aid the enemy in its war against Israel, aiding the enemy in war, providing information to the enemy with the intention of harming the security of the State, membership in a terror organization, training for terror purposes, operating weapons for terror purposes, and leaving the country illegally.

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