Hamas Operative Arrested by Shin Bet Reveals Tunnel Plan Leading From Gaza

Cleared for publication: 21-year-old detained in July told Shin Bet about Iranian connections and training for Hamas.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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Israeli soldiers use heavy equipment to dig down and destroy the Hamas tunnels at the Israeli-Gaza border on August 3, 2014. Credit: AFP
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

The Shin Bet security service announced on Tuesday that it had arrested a Hamas operative involved in the organization’s tunnel-building operations at the beginning of July. Ibrahim Adel Shahadeh Sha’er was arrested at the Erez crossing from the Gaza Strip. Sha’er, 21, from Rafah, is considered to be a Hamas militant and tunnel digger.

During his interrogation, Sha’er said he had been involved in Hamas underground activities in recent months, and revealed to investigators a Hamas tunnel from the Rafah area to the Kerem Shalom crossing.

The Shin Bet said Sha’er revealed a great deal of information on Hamas activities in the Rafah area, including details of Hamas plans for times of war and emergency, and the organization’s intentions for using the tunnels to attack Israel. The Shin Bet also said that the prisoner provided great detail about the tunnels in the area, including the location of the entrances and exits, where the tunnels were being dug, the diggers and routes.

Sha’er also provided detailed information on the activities of the Hamas elite Nukhba forces, and changes in its battle plans and military formations after Operation Protective Edge in Gaza last summer. He said Hamas has observation points that provide it a view of up to three kilometers inside Israel.

An indictment was filed against Sha’er in the Be’er Sheva District Court on July 31. He was charged with attempted murder, contact with a foreign agent, forbidden military training, various weapons offenses and membership and activity in an illegal organization.

Sha’er said that the paving of a new road by Hamas along the border fence is expected to be used as part of a surprise attack against Israel, using vehicles that would then race to the border from the road. The IDF Southern Command has actually seen a positive side to the paving of the new road, saying Hamas had started to carry out regular patrol operations, such as the IDF does along the border, and could then help distance Palestinian disturbances and rioters from the border fence.

The Shin Bet said Sha’er was involved personally in military training, weapons and explosive devices. During the fighting in Gaza last summer he served in the support and logistics unit of Hamas, and helped supply the Hamas fighters in the field with military equipment and explosive devices. He also took an active role in the fighting, including planting anti-tank explosive devices, and aided in reconnaissance, said the Shin Bet.

During his interrogation, Sha’er also told of the links between Iran and Hamas, under which Iran has transferred military support into the Gaza Strip to strengthen the organization. The Iranians provide funds, advanced weaponry and electronic equipment such as equipment for disrupting radio communications to bring down Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles over Gaza, Sha’er told the Shin Bet. Iran has also trained Gaza fighters in the use of hang gliders for the purpose of penetrating into Israel, he said.

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