Shin Bet nabs Palestinian pair groomed for terror activity by members of Iran’s Guard

Yousef Mansour and Marsil Mansour, West Bank residents, communicated with Quds Force operatives via social media; were asked to smuggle and sell weapons, spy on IDF

Yousef Mansour (right) and Marsil Mansour, arrested by security services for suspected serious security offenses, April 17, 2023. (Shin Bet)
Yousef Mansour (right) and Marsil Mansour, arrested by security services for suspected serious security offenses, April 17, 2023. (Shin Bet)

Security forces uncovered attempts by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force to recruit Palestinians to carry out terror attacks against Israeli targets, and arrested two West Bank men suspected of planning an attack, the Shin Bet security agency said Monday.

According to a statement, Yousef Mansour and Marsil Mansour, Palestinian residents of the West Bank, were in contact via social media with Quds Force operatives, who had presented themselves to the pair as members of the Iran-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The pair allegedly agreed to smuggle weapons and military equipment into the West Bank, likely for use in terror attacks against Israeli targets.

Yousef Mansour agreed, at the request of the IRGC agents, to gather intelligence information on Israeli military activities throughout the country and to actively recruit additional operatives, the Shin Bet charged.

To fund the operation, Yousef received money from the operatives, which was funneled to him with Marsil’s assistance.

An indictment charging the pair with “serious security offenses” had been filed, the Shin Bet said.

The Shin Bet named one of the IRGC operatives as Hajj Muhammad Radwan — who is better known as Mohammed Bashir — and published a picture of him with Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah. Another operative was named as Huda Mahana.

IRGC operative Hajj Muhammad Radwan, better known as Mohammed Bashir, is seen in an undated photo with Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah (left). (Shin Bet)

Both had allegedly presented themselves to Yousef Mansour and Marsil Mansour as Hezbollah members.

The Shin Bet said Bashir and Mahana belong to the Palestinian Division of the IRGC — headed by Saeed Izadi — responsible for aiding Palestinian terror groups in the West Bank.

Iran has reportedly been rallying militant groups in allied countries and regions to launch attacks against Israel, and coordinated recent Hamas rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip and from areas controlled by Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy, earlier this month.

Huda Mahana, an alleged IRGC operative named by the Shin Bet, April 17, 2023. (Shin Bet)

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal last week, Iranian Gen. Esmail Ghaani, the leader of the Quds Force, held a series of covert meetings with militant groups in the Middle East in recent weeks, including some operating in Syria and Iraq, to discuss attacks on Israel on multiple fronts and with renewed determination, supported by Iran. The IRGC, including the Quds Force, is a US-designated terrorist organization.

In early April, Ghaani was in Beirut to meet with senior leaders of Palestinian terror groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, as well as Hezbollah, at the Iranian embassy in the Lebanese capital, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing “people familiar with the discussions.”

Soon after, a barrage of 34 rockets was fired from southern Lebanon into northern Israel, with 25 intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system. At least three people were injured and several buildings were damaged. The salvo last Thursday was the largest number of rockets fired from Lebanon since the 2006 war, during which thousands of rockets were launched at Israel.

Volleys of rockets were also launched from the Gaza Strip that same day.

The service warned that the IRGC was increasingly trying to carry out attacks in the West Bank and Israel, and said the recent investigation “exposed their methods of operation.”

“The Shin Bet views with severity attempts by Iran and its proxies to establish secret infrastructures in Israel whose purpose is to carry out terror activities against the citizens of Israel, and will continue to work together with the security forces in order to locate and thwart in advance any activity that endangers the security of the state,” the statement added.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

Most Popular
read more: