The terrorist is an Arab-Israeli who underwent bomb assembly training by Hamas and was instructed to carry out a bombing attack.
Israel’s security forces were successful in thwarting a significant terror attack organized by the Hamas terror organization and meant to be carried out by a Bedouin with Israel citizenship at the central Bilu Junction, the Shin Bet (Israel’s Security Agency) announced Monday.
The investigation of the planned attack, which was conducted in recent weeks, reveals that an Israeli citizen, a resident of Segev Shalom in the south, was recruited by members of the Hamas military wing for the purpose of gathering intelligence in the Negev, and in the second phase, he was instructed and trained to carry out a bombing in Israel.
On August 15, the Shin Bet arrested Mahmoud Makdad, 30, a Bedouin Israeli whose mother has Israeli citizenship and his father is from the Gaza Strip. He was the designated bomber.
Along with him, nine other family members and acquaintances were arrested, most of them residents of Segev Shalomץ They were arrested on suspicion of awareness and involvement in the planning of the attack. Among the detainees is Mahmoud’s brother, Ahmed Makdad, 32.
Hamas operated to recruit Mahmoud Makdad as an agent, taking advantage of his ability to move freely between Israel and the Gaza Strip.
This made it easier for Hamas’ military wing to recruit Mahmoud and hold face-to-face meetings with him in Gaza, while at the same time giving them unique and high-quality access to Israeli targets.
The Shin Bet investigation also revealed that Mahmoud agreed to operate for Hamas as early as the end of 2019, when he collected intelligence and spied on various sites in Israel, including providing information about various locations of the Iron Dome defense system in Israel.
In the last months, before his last entry into Israel, he underwent bomb assembly training by Hamas and was instructed to carry out a bombing attack.
Since entering Israel in June, Mahmoud has purchased ammunition and began assembling the explosive charge as instructed in the Gaza Strip. At the same time, he was looking for a location to carry out the attack while in secret-operational contact with his operator in Gaza. The chosen destination is a bus stop at the Bilu Junction.
The Bilu Junction is the site of a massive outdoor shopping complex.
Mahmoud’s brother, Ahmed, was a partner in the connection with Hamas. He intended to carry out an attack and did not take measures to prevent Mahmoud’s attack. In addition, it appears that he was a partner with Mahmoud in the task of gathering information about the location of Iron Dome batteries.
Additional family members assisted in obtaining components intended for assembling the explosive device and other weapons.
The investigation and the subsequent thwarting of the terrorist attack shed further light on the activities of the Hamas-operated terrorist infrastructure that was exposed in early 2020 as part of the arrests of other agents with Israeli citizenship, including Rajab Dacha, Rami Amudi and Aya Khatib, and which continues to mobilize Israeli citizens for the execution of terrorist attacks in Israel, the Shin Bet said.
A senior Shin Bet source added that “this is further evidence of the efforts of Hamas’ military wing in the Gaza Strip to establish terrorist infrastructure in Israel, and demonstrates the strategy that the Hamas leadership continues to lead toward destabilizing the region. ”
He also noted that these efforts to carry out an attack continued despite, and in parallel, with Hamas’ efforts to reach an agreement on a ceasefire with Israel.
Indictments against Mahmoud and Ahmad were filed by the Southern District Attorney’s Office in the Be’er Sheva District Court on Monday, alleging serious security offenses.
The Shin Bet will “continue to work with its partners in the defense establishment to thwart in advance any terrorist activity and espionage by terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip,” it stated.
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