Hamas militants operate freely in Sinai, planning terror attacks against Israel under the Egyptians' noses, an indictment filed on Wednesday against a Hamas operative claims.
The indictment, against Mohammed Abu Aadra, detailed what it termed a Hamas plan to abduct a soldier from an army outpost near Eilat, smuggle him to Sinai and then take him to the Gaza Strip through a tunnel. It said Gazan militant groups have settled in the Sinai Peninsula, from which they travel freely to and from Gaza.
Despite Hamas' announcement that it would focus on popular resistance against Israel, the group has not stopped trying to send militants to abduct Israeli soldiers or carry out suicide attacks in Israel, said the indictment, which was filed in the Be'er Sheva District Court.
Abu Aadra, 20, of the Gazan town of Rafah, was arrested by Shin Bet security service agents last month after he entered Israel from the Gaza Strip.
According to the indictment, Abu Aadra admitted during his Shin Bet interrogation that he had traveled to Sinai through a tunnel about a year ago. In Sinai, he was contacted by a relative, Rushdi Abu Aadra, who asked him to monitor and gather information on Israeli military and civilian targets for Hamas' commander in Sinai, Yunes Abu Shluf.
In particular, Abu Aadra was instructed to gather information about Israel's security deployment and guard outposts near the Taba border crossing between Israel and Sinai, as well as about military bases along the border. Hamas also asked him to gather information about the city of Eilat.
The indictment said that Mohammed and Rushdi Abu Aadra did most their intelligence gathering together, from Israeli territory. On one occasion, it said, the two videotaped Eilat's airport from a distance of about 200 meters. On another, they videotaped the Uvda military airport near Eilat. Afterward, they allegedly gave the footage to Hamas operatives.
In late 2011, Abu Aadra returned to Gaza, where he was taken to a meeting with Raid al-Atar, who commands Gaza's southern sector on behalf of Hamas' military wing. Al-Atar was allegedly involved in the abduction of soldier Gilad Shalit, as well as in the deal to release him.
At that meeting, Abu Aadra allegedly agreed to fire a missile at a civilian bus, or at other targets on the Israel-Sinai border. That attack, he told his interrogators, was slated to be part of a planned abduction of an Israeli soldier.
Hamas also planned to send a terrorist cell into Eilat, he told his interrogators, and he agreed to guide the terror cell into Eilat.
In recent weeks, Egypt has stopped supplying Gaza with fuel. Israeli sources said this might be intended to punish Hamas for its continuing plans to carry out attacks on Israel from Sinai. The Egyptians fear such attacks could further jeopardize American financial aid, which is already in danger, the sources said.
Abu Aadra was charged with contact with a foreign agent, membership in an illegal organization, conspiracy to commit murder and abduct a soldier, and intent to undermine national security.
"This activity shows the ease with which the terror organizations operate in Sinai and the potential they see there," a Shin Bet source said. "Hamas is continuing its intensive efforts to carry out attacks against Israel."
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