The Shin Bet on Wednesday announced the arrest of three Arabs from Hebron who had been recruited by Iranian Intelligence to carry out missions in Judea and Samaria. The main detainee is Muhammad Maharma, 29, a computer engineering student.
Maharma recruited two Arabs from Hebron, Nur Maharma and Diaa Sarahna, both 22, who agreed to operate in a terror cell under Iranian direction. Maharma received $8,000 from the Iranians in exchange for their recruitment.
According to the Shin Bet, Maharma was recruited for the Iranian Intelligence by a relative, Bahar Maharma, who lives in South Africa. The Shin Bet announcement said that “Iranian Intelligence has used South Africa as a significant arena for locating, recruiting and operating agents against Israel and the Judea and Samaria region.”
According to the announcement, Muhammad Maharma visited South Africa in 2015, and was then recruited by his relative. In addition, Bahar Maharma introduced Muhammad several times to Iranian officials, “some of whom came from Tehran to meet him.”
Maharma was assigned to recruit a suicide bomber and a cell that would carry out shooting attacks against Israelis. The Shin Bet also suspects that he was told to open a computer store he would use as a center for intelligence gathering.
The Iranians offered Maharma a training course in explosives, and ordered him to recruit an Israeli Arab citizen for photographic missions inside Israel. He was also told to recruit Israeli Arab journalists, with access to Israeli officials.
In recent days, an indictment was filed against Muhammad Maharma, for contact with a hostile organization, receiving money from the enemy, and membership in an illegal association. Nur Maharma and Diya Sarahna were indicted for conspiring to join an illegal association.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented on the foiling of an Iranian-sponsored terrorist network:
“The Israel Security Agency (ISA), with the assistance of the IDF, exposed and foiled a terrorist network in Judea and Samaria that operated under the aegis of Iranian intelligence. This is not the first time. They are trying various methods, and in various fields, to attack the State of Israel. I am pleased that the ISA and our security services have succeeded in foiling it.
I would like to bring it to your attention that Iran is using terrorism against the State of Israel not only with the assistance of terrorist movements such as Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad but is also attempting to organize terrorist actions inside the State of Israel and against the citizens of Israel.”