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September 29, 2016 / 26 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Israel Security Agency’

Gaza Smuggling Ring Busted at Kerem Shalom After 100 ATVs Arrive Safely

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

A smuggling ring that was sneaking all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) from Israel into Gaza via the Kerem Shalom Crossing has been busted by Israeli authorities.

Shin Bet intelligence agents teamed with Israel Police and Israel Customs Authority inspectors to catch the smugglers.

The vehicles were being broken down into parts and stashed in shipments that were trucked into Gaza via the border crossing. They were re-assembled after the dismantled parts in the shipments were unloaded inside Gaza.

It is believed that more than 100 vehicles may have already been smuggled into the enclave this way, according to the Shin Bet.

The vehicles were intended for use by Hamas operatives working with the group’s Izz a-Din al-Qassam military wing.

Three arrests have been made so far in the sting; all of the suspects were Arabs from the Palestinian Authority. Several Israeli citizens are believed to be involved in the smuggling operation as well.

Hana Levi Julian

Gaza Businessman Admits, “Hamas Funds Terror Infrastructure in Judea and Samaria”

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

By Michael Zeff/TPS

A businessman from Gaza with an entry permit to Israel and Judea and Samaria told the IDF under questioning on Wednesday that he had transferred USD 50,000 in cash from Hamas officials in Gaza to those in Hebron, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) revealed on Thursday evening.

According to Hamas’s own media reports, the businessman in question, Bashir Muhammad Yunus Mustafa, was apprehended at the Erez Crossing between Israel and Gaza by the Israeli Crossing Authority and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).

Mustafa, a resident of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, held a permanent permit issued by COGAT that allowed him to cross over freely from Gaza into Israel and to enter Judea and Samaria. According to COGAT, such permits are issued by the Israeli government for humanitarian reasons and in order to facilitate free trade between Gaza and the Palestinian Authority controlled territories.

According to COGAT Spokesperson, Hadar Horn, Mustafa was released after his questioning. “He has a heart condition,” was Horn’s explanation for the immediate release.

An Israeli security official revealed to Tazpit Press Service (TPS) that the Hamas terror organization has its own so-called “crossings unit.”. According to our source, one of the purposes of this unit is to identify Gazan residents who have entry permits into Israel or crossing permits into Judea and Samaria for either humanitarian or business reasons and to then approach these individuals and recruit them to serve as “mules” for their money-smuggling operations.

“It is very likely that this businessman is a decent and innocent man, but it’s a bit hard to say no to Hamas,” the security source told TPS.

Hamas is outlawed as an illegal terror organization in Israel, the United States, and the European Union. The organization contains a political and military faction that are the de facto sovereign in the Gaza strip.

Israel’s security and intelligence bodies over the past few months have apprehended several individuals who had legal entry permits to Israel and who used them to transfer large sums of money to Hamas operatives outside of Gaza.

“Terrorist groups take advantage of these [entry] permits for illegal purposes such as the financing of terrorism,” a Shin Bet spokesperson stated. “The money was destined for Hamas cells operating in Judea and Samaria. Hamas took advantage of Israel’s willingness to issue humanitarian permits to Gazans.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

16 Terror Suspects Captured in Joint Military Operations

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

Sixteen terror suspects were captured late Wednesday night and into the wee hours of Thursday in joint operations carried out by IDF soldiers together with agents from the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) and Israel Police.

Of those taken into custody, 14 of the fugitives were wanted for terror-related activities, according to military sources.

The suspects were arrested in various locations throughout Judea and Samaria, including the towns of Al-Bireh, Bethlehem, Kfar Kalil and Tulkarem.

All of the detainees were transferred to security personnel for interrogation.

Hana Levi Julian

IDF Adds Forces in Judea, Imposes Closure on Hebron

Friday, July 1st, 2016

The IDF has imposed an indefinite general closure on the entire city of Hebron and its surrounding Arab villages in the wake of a wave of deadly terror attacks that claimed the lives of two Israelis and seriously wounded at least four others in less than two days.

All crossing and passage by Palestinian Authority residents in and out of the city and villages are now closed with the exception of military and humanitarian cases, according to the IDF.

A military spokesperson told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency the closure is being implemented to “help foil and prevent future terrorist attacks.”

It is reportedly the greatest closure since 2014, when three Israeli teenage boys were kidnapped and then murdered by Hebron-based Hamas terrorists.

“The IDF is deploying two battalions to the area of Hebron,” IDF Spokesperson Peter Lerner added in a post on the IDF Facebook page. “The mission is to track down today’s attackers, disrupt, prevent and foil additional attacks.

Arab terrorists carried out a drive-by shooting at around 3:30 pm Friday afternoon (July 1), killing the administrator of the Otniel Yeshiva, Rabbi Miki Mark. The rabbi’s wife and two teenage children were also wounded in the attack, which occurred on Route 60 a few minutes south of Hebron, near the Arab village of Samua.

In response to that attack and the vicious stabbing murder of a 13-year-old girl while she was sleeping in her bed at home in Kiryat Arba on the morning prior (Thursday, June 30), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also ordered the government Friday to deduct Palestinian Authority payments to terrorists and their families from tax revenues collected by Israel and transferred to the Ramallah coffers. The Palestinian Authority transfers funds to terrorists by various laundering methods, Netanyahu noted; the more severe the acts of terrorism, the greater the amount of funds.

Lerner pointed out that more Israeli soldiers in and around the city of Hebron would mean a greater deterrent as well as a more effective fighting force against the terrorist stronghold.

“The deployment will be boots on the ground that pose a physical presence and deterrent that will operate in conjunction with intelligence in order to locate and bring to justice the terrorist cell that carried out today’s attack,” he wrote.

“The recent spike in attacks is a result of several components,” Lerner continued. “Historically the end of [the Islamic holy month of] Ramadan has always been more prone to attacks. Attacks that are a result of the inspiration of the perceived ‘success’ of previous attacks. The lack of condemnation of the brutal murder of Israelis by the Palestinian leadership and celebration of the attacks on social media,” Lerner noted bitterly, adding that he would continue to update readers on Facebook “as developments occur.”

Hana Levi Julian

4 Hamas Killers of Henkin Couple Sentenced to Life in Prison

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

by Michael Zeff

Four members of the Hamas terror organization were sentenced to life in prison Wednesday by an IDF military tribunal in Samaria. The terror cell was convicted on charges of murdering Rabbi Eitam and Na’ama Henkin, an Israeli rabbi and his wife, in October 2015. A fifth member of the Shechem-based cell was found guilty but has not yet been sentenced, and two others await trial.

Yahia Abdullah Hajj-hamad, Samir Qusah, Karem Razik; and Amjad Aliwi, were among the five terrorists responsible for the ambush and murder of the Henkin couple. They were shot while driving their car near the Itamar community in Samaria, as their four children sat in the back seat. Eitam, son of the prominent American-born educators Rabbi Yehuda and Chana Henkin, was a U.S. citizen.

The murder of their parents, witnessed by Matan, 9, Nitzan, 7, Netta, 4, and four-month-old baby Itamar, shook the Jewish nation both in Israel and in the Diaspora.

The four terrorists were sentenced to two consecutive life sentences and an additional 30-year prison term each. Zeid Jamil Amar, the fifth member of the terror cell hasn’t been sentenced yet.

The Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency (Israel Security Agency) said in a statement that the terrorists are also responsible for several other shooting attacks that took place in Samaria in August 2015.

The judge said that it was the “carefully planned and cold blooded nature of the killing, in which every member of the squad played a vital role,” that swayed the military judge to issue a harsh and uniform sentence to all the terrorists, regardless of who pulled the trigger.

Shin Bet officials have suggested the children were only spared from death due to the fact that one member of the cell accidentally shot his fellow terrorist, causing him serious injury and prompting him to drop his gun at the scene and flee.

It was that gun and “friendly fire” that helped the Shin Bet and IDF identify and capture the killers in a Shechem hospital a few days later.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Meet the Activist Rabbi and his Gay Bodyguard: the Knesset’s Most Incredible Allies

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

By Jesse Lempel/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Looking at the two newest lawmakers for the Likud party, you would never guess they were close friends: Yehuda Glick is a Brooklyn-born Orthodox rabbi who built his career on pressing for Jewish prayer on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount; Amir Ohana is the first openly gay parliamentarian of the center-right Likud party and founder of its LGBT Caucus.

Yet the two men share an extraordinarily unique bond that began in earnest in 2014 when Glick was gunned down by an Arab would-be assassin, an attack he miraculously survived. After being released from the hospital, the death threats continued pouring in – yet the police declined to provide protection.

That’s when Amir Ohana, a relatively unknown LGBT activist from the southern city of Be’er Sheva and a former agent with the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), stepped in: he volunteered to be Glick’s personal bodyguard.

“I’m not a religious person, but I believe in freedom – and it was my honor to defend freedom,” Ohana, 40, explained in a recent interview with Tazpit Press Service (TPS) that took place, together with Glick, 51, in Ohana’s office in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament. “I don’t hold religious views but I can respect our legacy and our history as a people. What I want is for everyone to be free to pray wherever they want, and the Temple Mount is the holiest place for Jews.”

The Temple Mount, however, also houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock complex – the third holiest site in Islam. The shrine has been a frequent flashpoint of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and tensions surrounding the site – in particular Palestinian claims that Israelis, including Glick personally, are “invading” and “defiling” the complex by visiting – are widely seen as underlying the most recent wave of terror attacks against Israelis.

Because of that tension, for the last several months all members of the Israeli parliament – Jewish and Arab alike – have been banned from visiting the holy site by order of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, head of the Likud party. And in keeping with the “status quo” on the site: Jews may visit sections of the compound in small groups, and only during designated hours, but are evicted if they attempt to pray.

Both Glick and Ohana strongly protest this policy. Glick has been perhaps the most visible advocate of Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount and, with his striking red beard, has become something of an infamous figure in the Arabic-language media and social networking platforms, where he has been caricaturized as a serpentine villain.

Glick as snake

The hatred directed at Glick eventually led to his near-assassination and, later on, brought him together with Ohana – who is now, as chance would have it, his colleague in the Knesset.

The ‘Enemy of Al-Aqsa’

On the night of October 29, 2014, Glick was leaving an event at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem. At 10:04 p.m. Mutaz Hijazi, a Palestinian from eastern Jerusalem, showed up on a motorbike.

“This guy stops right next to me on his motorcycle, wearing a white helmet and all black,” Glick recalled to TPS. “He says to me, in Hebrew, ‘I’m very sorry.’ I said, ‘What are you sorry about?’ I get close to him and he says to me, ‘You are an enemy of Al-Aqsa’ and he takes out a pistol and shoots four bullets into the center of my body.”

As Hijazi sped off, Glick staggered along with four bullets in his torso.

“My wife hid under the steering wheel. I saw that I was bleeding and – I have no explanation for this – I had no pain. I managed to walk maybe twenty yards, then I collapsed,” Glick said. “I heard Shai [Malka] say, ‘We just witnessed murder.’ He rips off my shirt and yells to me, ‘[Rabbi] Yehuda, don’t go! We need you!’ That was the last sentence I remember.”

Within a few hours, Israeli security agents – “Amir’s friends” in the Shin Bet, Glick says – discovered footage of Hijazi on the security camera from St. Andrew’s Scottish Church adjacent to the scene of the shooting. By 4 a.m. Israeli forces had tracked Hijazi to his family’s home in the Abu Tor neighborhood and, following a shootout on the roof, killed him.

Hijazi was a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group, but a local official of the mainstream Fatah party also claimed responsibility for the “heroic act.”

“I knew there were threats, but I didn’t really believe that it could happen,” Glick said of his attitude before the shooting. “I also believed we have a democratic country and people don’t kill people because they have different views.”

“Now he’s dead and I’m alive,” Glick summed up.

‘A Zealot for Human Rights’

For all the fury he attracts from extremists in the Arab world, as well as from his left wing colleagues (one of whom boycotted his swearing-in ceremony at the Knesset), Glick also faces a backlash from rightist Israelis who recoil from some of his more liberal ideas – including his acceptance of non-Orthodox Jews, his criticism of an Israeli soldier who shot an already-wounded Palestinian terrorist, and his extensive interfaith work (which, according to Glick, was sparked by hours spent in his Bedouin .

Ohana, too, finds himself in the odd position of fending off attacks from opposing sides of the aisle. As he attended the Tel Aviv Pride Parade nearly two weeks ago, despite remarks from some of his right-wing political allies who have crudely likened the to parade to a celebration of bestiality, Ohana also received threats from some in the largely liberal gay community who despise his nationalist politics – so much so that the police, in a twist of fate, decided to provide Ohana with a personal bodyguard for the march. (The interview with Glick and Ohana took place before massacre at the gay bar in Orlando this past weekend and before the terror attack at Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market last week, at which Ohana happened to be present.)

“In Israel it’s quite unique. When you talk about right and left, unlike everywhere else in the world, you primarily talk about the Arab-Israeli conflict,” Ohana explains. “So there is no reason why a person can’t be right wing – and even, as I’m sometimes called, a hawkish right winger – and yet support LGBT rights, women’s rights, freedom of speech, everything that is considered liberal. We are a liberal national party.”

Remarkably, despite all their drastically different backgrounds and religious beliefs, Glick and Ohana seem to share this view. Both men seem determined to fight for issues beyond their own sectarian interests – whether it’s Ohana, the LGBT activist, protecting Glick’s struggle for the Temple Mount, or Glick, the Orthodox rabbi, irritating his base by supporting non-Orthodox women’s prayer groups at the Western Wall, for example, and even gay rights.

“I’m a zealot when it comes to human rights and respecting every single human being,” Glick boasts. “I think that every single person deserves rights. I mean it’s obvious, you know, we’re living in a democratic country.”

Does he, then, support gay marriage, an impossibility under the current Israeli arrangement in which marriage is governed by the Orthodox rabbinate?

“I support that he should have every single right he deserves,” Glick says somewhat evasively, pointing to Ohana, and referring to Ohana’s partner: “I know that he has a wonderful mate.”

Yet when asked why he wouldn’t attend the Tel Aviv Pride Parade, Glick replied: “I don’t see a problem with [going to the parade], but I wouldn’t go because other people might see me as a problem,” adding that he went to visit Shira Banki, a teenage girl stabbed by a Jewish religious extremist at the Jerusalem Pride Parade in 2015, while she was in the hospital. Shortly afterward, Banki died of her wounds.

‘Jerusalem of Peace’

Glick was sworn in to his parliament post in late May, following the resignation of former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. As our interview ended, he decided to inaugurate his new office by placing the ritual mezuzah on the doorpost – a small box holding verses of the Torah which is thought to protect one’s home.

Ohana tags along to Glick’s new office, borrowing a kippa from an aide, and the two hang the mezuzah together.

“I protected you once, so I may as well finish the job,” Ohana quips.

Glick then declares that his office has a name.

“This isn’t Yehuda Glick’s office,” he says. “It’s called ‘Jerusalem of Peace.’”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

2 Suspects Arrested in Hizme Terror Attack, ‘Significant Progress’ Made in Interrogation [video]

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

Israel Police officers from the Binyamin district in Samaria and Shin Bet agents from the Israel Security Agency (ISA) have arrested two Arab suspects in connection with last week’s May 11 terror attack at the Hizme checkpoint.

“Significant progress” has been made in the investigation of the two suspects, according to a statement by the Shin Bet. Other details in the case remain under gag order, the security agency said.

An IDF officer sustained serious head and face wounds when a pipe bomb blew up as he bent down to examine what appeared to be a suspicious item near the entrance to the checkpoint. A total of nine bombs were found after sappers subsequently swept the checkpoint, including the four that exploded at the site. Five were safely defused by the bomb squad.

The Hizme security checkpoint station is located close to the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Ze’ev and the Palestinian Authority Arab village of Hizma.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon visited the wounded IDF officer at his bedside in Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center on Sunday. The officer reportedly communicated with Ya’alon via a writing board because his wounds prevented him from speaking.

“I was excited to visit the officer and meet him and his family, who demonstrate true strength of character,” Ya’alon said. “What’s needed now is time for recovery. There are excellent doctors here and a supportive environment, and I am confident that his willpower and that of his family will help him return to an active, creative life.”

A two-day curfew of the village of Hizma was imposed by IDF forces following the attack, during which time the two suspects were detained.

Joshua B. Dermer/TPS contributed to this report.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/2-suspects-arrested-for-hizme-terror-attack-significant-progress-made-in-interrogation/2016/05/15/

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