Shin Bet arrests Bedouin man who allegedly joined IDF to spy for Gaza terror group

Shehadeh Abu Alqian, 25, charged with joining Mujahideen Brigades after authorities issued demolition order for his father’s illegal home, providing terror group with intel

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

Shehadeh Abu Alqian, 25, who is charged with spying for a Gaza-based terror group, is seen wearing an Israeli military uniform in May 2022. (Courtesy)
Shehadeh Abu Alqian, 25, who is charged with spying for a Gaza-based terror group, is seen wearing an Israeli military uniform in May 2022. (Courtesy)

A Bedouin man from southern Israel joined the military in order to spy for a terror group in the Gaza Strip, the Shin Bet security service charged Thursday.

The agency said Shehadeh Abu Alqian, 25, from a Bedouin village near Hura in the northern Negev region, was instructed by the Gaza-based Mujahideen Brigades to join the Israel Defense Forces “for the purpose of promoting terrorist activity and gathering intelligence in Israeli territory.”

Abu Alqian was detained on May 30, more than a week after he enlisted in the IDF.

The Shin Bet said his investigation revealed Abu Alqian performed various tasks for the terror group, including gathering internal intelligence from the army, photographing sites in Israel, and stealing weapons in order to transfer them to “terrorist elements.”

The agency said Abu Alqian conducted “most” of his actions before he enlisted in the IDF.

According to the indictment, filed Thursday, Abu Alqian sought to “act against the State of Israel and against its security” after his father’s illegally built home was given a demolition order by authorities in 2019. The indictment didn’t specify whether the house had since been demolished.

Illustrative: A view of houses in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Sawaneen in Israel’s southern Negev Desert, on June 8, 2021. (Hazem Bader/AFP)

On September 9, 2019, Abu Alqian stole an M4 rifle from a soldier waiting at a bus station in the Yatir Forest area of southern Israel, according to the charges, and in 2021 he joined Mujahideen Brigades.

“The defendant contacted an operative in a terrorist organization, a resident of Gaza, [and] expressed his desire to support the Gaza Strip’s fight against Israel and enlist in a terrorist organization,” the indictment read.

The indictment said Abu Alqian provided the terror group with information on military helicopter activity, IDF training in the area of his town, and photos of a military base and of Beersheba’s train station.

File: Members of Mujahideen Brigades terror group participate in a drill simulating a war against Israel, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on February 19, 2022. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

On May 22, Abu Alqian enlisted in the IDF and during the recruitment process, provided the Mujahideen Brigades operative with names, telephone numbers and photos of Bedouin soldiers serving in the military, the indictment read.

The Mujahideen Brigades is a relatively small armed faction in the Gaza Strip, and is somewhat allied with the coastal enclave’s rulers, Hamas. The terror group fought alongside Hamas during last year’s 11-day war with Israel.

The charges against Abu Alqian carry a potential life sentence.

The Shin Bet said it and the Israel Police “take any involvement of Israeli citizens in terrorist activities very seriously, and will work to thwart any such activity in order to bring to justice those who seek to harm the security of the country’s citizens.”

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