Philippines (Shutterstock) (Shutterstock)

Hamas sought to establish a foothold in the Pacific island nation.

By Pesach Benson, United With Israel

The Philippine National Police foiled a Hamas plot to “establish a foothold” in the Pacific island nation and target Israeli interests, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported on Tuesday.

According to PNP intelligence chief Brig. Gen. Neil Alinsangan, a Hamas operative “was reportedly attempting to establish a foothold in the Philippines with pledges of financial support to some local threat groups including militant extremists with links to the international terrorist organizations.”

The operative, who was known to locals as “Bashir,” was really Fares Al Shikli, who heads of Hamas’s Foreign Liaison Section. Authorities said Shikli is the subject of an Interpol Red Notice and is charged with an Offense of Terrorism Logistic Support.

A statement issued by the police didn’t specify if any arrests were made.

It did say that Shikli had been grooming a local contact and that another Filipino contact had tipped off the authorities.

“It was in 2016 that Fares Al Shikli started grooming him as a local contact in the Philippines and introduced to him theoretical bomb-making training in one of their meetings in Malaysia,” the statement said.

“Late 2017, Fares Al Shikli expressed his intention with the source to recruit Filipinos with links to local threat groups that will be utilized to kill Jews present in the country, conduct rallies at selected embassies and spread video propaganda in exchange of financial support.”

The Armed Forces of the Philippines is battling an Islamic insurgency in the country’s south. Foremost among the insurgents is Abu Sayyaf, a terror group aligned with Islamic State.

The number of Jews living in the Philippines is believed to be less than 1,000.

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