Israel Arrests Palestinian for Trying to Recruit Operatives in Egypt

Mohammed Najib Mustafa Nazel allegedly worked with Hamas, Holy Fighters Brigade to build military infrastructure in West Bank after moving to Egypt.

Arrest (illustration)
Olivier Fitoussi

A Palestinian from the northern West Bank was arrested at the end of January on suspicion of attempting to enlist Palestinians studying in Egypt in establishing military infrastructure in the West Bank. 

According to the Shin Bet security service, Mohammed Najib Mustafa Nazel, 33, from Qabatiyah in the northern West Bank, located and enlisted the students, and was planning on sending them for military training to the Gaza Strip. 

Nazel was arrested and interrogated by the Shin Bet a few weeks ago and is expected to be indicted by the Samaria military court. 

According to the Shin Bet, in 2007, Nazel moved to Cairo to study and became a member of an extremist Islamic militant group called the Holy Fighters Brigade. The group has carried out a number of attacks over the past few years, mainly firing rockets at Israel. The Shin Bet claims that the organization has ties to Hamas, particularly in training and military supplies. 

According to a statement issued by the Shin Bet, Nazel told his interrogators that he worked out of an apartment in Cairo belonging to the Holy Fighters Brigade. He used it for meetings with activists from the Gaza Strip and the head of the organization, As’ad Abu Shariya, also came there. Hamas activists, as well as activists from other groups, used the apartment as well.

According to the Shin Bet, Nazal was involved in moving money for the military infrastructure he was trying to establish. The Shin Bet statement said Nazel told them “significant weaponry” was moving from Libya to Egypt and from there to the Gaza Strip.