Shin Bet revealed on Monday that an Arab-Israeli citizen who was recruited by Hamas to plant a bomb at a bus stop in central Israel was arrested on August 15.
Mahmoud Maqdad, 30, a resident of the Bedouin town of Segev Shalom in southern Israel, was arrested along with nine of his relatives, who are suspected of being involved in the plot.
In 2019, Hamas recruited Maqdad, the son of a Gazan father and an Israeli-Bedouin mother after he married a woman living in the Gaza Strip. The terror organization took advantage of the fact that Maqdad split his time between the Gaza Strip and Israel and was allowed to easily cross between the two under the family reunification law, enabling Hamas to meet with him in the Strip and send him on missions inside Israel.
Hamas sent Maqdad to gather intelligence in Israel and in recent months, he was taught how to assemble and plant a bomb. He was then ordered to return to Israel and choose a location to perpetrate a terror attack.
Maqdad returned to Israel from the Strip in June 2020 and purchased materials for the explosive device. He chose the bus stop at Bilu Junction near Rechovot as the site of the attack.
Ultimately, Maquad changed his mind about carrying out the attack and burned the explosive materials. He was arrested by the Shin Bet shortly later.
Maqdad’s brother Ahmad assisted him in gathering intelligence for Hamas by taking photos of Iron Dome batteries, tracking the movement of IDF crafts, and videoing bus stops near IDF bases. Other relatives purchased some of the components of the bomb.
The suspects were indicted on Monday in the Be’er Sheva District Court for serious security offenses.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)