The Shin Bet security service announced Sunday that it has arrested a Palestinian man suspected of recruiting Palestinians in Egypt, sending them to the Gaza Strip for terror training, and then helping them enter the West Bank in order to carry out attacks against Israeli targets.
In a statement, the Shin Bet identified the suspect as Najib Mustafa Nazal, 33, of Qabatiya, near the West Bank city of Jenin. He is said to have moved to Cairo in 2007 for academic studies, but was arrested in the West Bank at the end of January.
Nazal, the statement said, is affiliated with the al-Mujahideen Brigades, a fundamentalist offshoot of Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party now linked to the rival Hamas terror group.
“In recent years, activists in the organization have carried out several terror attacks against Israeli targets, including firing rockets at Israel and attempting to catalyze terror activity within Israel’s borders,” the Shin Bet said.
“It is an organization that maintains ties with Hamas,” the statement continued, specifying training, arms deliveries, cash infusions and other forms of assistance.
Nazal told his interrogators that during his time in Egypt, he recruited West Bank Palestinians who were also students there, sent them to Gaza for training, and then helped them return to the West Bank in order to “establish a military infrastructure there,” the Shin Bet said.
Nazal’s Cairo apartment was allegedly used as a hub of sorts, hosting meetings between activists in various terror groups, including Hamas.
“In addition, he said he was aware of a major route for smuggling weapons from the Libya area to the Gaza Strip through Egypt,” the Shin Bet said, adding that Nazal will be indicted in a military court in the coming days.