Photo Credit: Mike Leibsohn / Wikimedia
The Bedouin town of Hura, located along Highway 31 in southern Israel, between Be'er Sheva and Arad.

Israeli authorities arrested a resident of the Negev accused of meeting with senior Hamas official Saleh Arouri in Turkey in January and transferring thousands of shekels to the terror group in Gaza, it was cleared for publishing on Monday.

Osama Al-Okbi and his wife Samah, Israeli citizens from the Bedouin town of Hura, were arrested on suspicion of having links with Hamas operatives abroad, according to an indictment filed in the Beersheva District Court on Monday.


The Police and the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) said that Al-Okbi was previously active in the Islamic Movement’s Northern Branch. Israel outlawed the Northern Branch for its ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood in 2015. Al-Okbi was particularly involved in delivering inciting sermons in mosques, and for social media posts encouraging violence on the Temple Mount.

Financial records found in Al-Okbi’s home documented that he transferred tens of thousands of shekels donated in Negev mosques to a Hamas operative in Gaza for years.

Investigators also found that Al-Okbi was in contact with senior Hamas officials abroad on several occasions, meeting with them personally in Turkey. During these meetings, he also received money from these Hamas figures for his activities in the Negev.

During his last visit to Turkey in June 2023, Al-Okbi met both with a senior Hamas official close to the top of the Hamas leadership abroad, and with Saleh Arouri, the deputy head of the Hamas politburo and in charge of all Hamas terror activities in Judea and Samaria. Arouri was killed in an Israeli air strike in Beirut in January.

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