Three Israeli Arabs Charged With Smuggling Weapons for Hamas-linked Palestinian

The three smuggled in revolvers with silencers for a Palestinian from Hebron, according to an Israeli security source

Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich
Israel's border fence with Lebanon near Metula, in 2018.
Israel's border fence with Lebanon near Metula, in 2018.Credit: Gil Eliahu
Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich

State prosecutors have filed indictments against three Israeli Arabs accused of smuggling and trading in arms brought from Lebanon for a Hamas-affiliated Palestinian.

According to an Israeli security source, the three smuggled in revolvers with silencers for a Palestinian from Hebron who is known to security forces as someone who identifies with Hamas. This involvement, however, was not part of the indictment.

The accused are Mohammed Abu Jumaa, 26, from Deir al-Assad, Sayed Hawashla, 27, from the Bedouin community in the Negev, and Omer Abu Tarash, 27, from the Bedouin town of Lakiya.

The indictments state that Abu Jumaa was in touch with several people in Lebanon for the purpose of smuggling arms and drugs into Israel and the West Bank. Jumaa contacted Hawashla, and the two purchased a mobile phone, with which they spoke to their Lebanese contacts using code in order to make it difficult for Israel’s security forces to trace their calls.

According to the indictment, the two met at the Lebanese border near Metula last November, where Jumaa showed Hawashla the point where the smuggling would take place.

A few days later Hawashla went to Metula in a vehicle driven by another person, who let him off in one of the city’s squares. From there he proceeded on foot to the border. A few minutes later, two people arrived at the Lebanese side, throwing a bag into the Israeli side. The bag contained three Glock pistols and magazines. Later, Hawashla met Jumaa and gave him the bag, according to the charge sheet. He received 20,000 ($6,200) shekels in exchange.

The Israeli town of Metula near the border fence with Lebanon, in 2020.Credit: Gil Eliahu

A month later, Jumaa contacted Hawashla and asked him to smuggle again. Hawashla is accused of again getting a bag with three Glock pistols at the Lebanese border in the same manner and passing these to Jumaa.

Jumaa approached Hawashla again in January for the same purpose. The latter approached his uncle, Abu Tarash, asking for his help. When they got to the smuggling point at the border, they noticed several Israeli soldiers, and the two left the area. A few days later they tried again, but Jumaa told them he had failed to make contact with the Lebanese smugglers.

The indictment says that after a few days, Hawashla and Abu Tarash managed to smuggle bags containing a Glock pistol with a silencer as well as 7.5 kilos of hashish. The two gave the bag to Jumaa, getting 30,000 shekels in exchange.

Jumaa was arrested a month ago by the police and Shin Bet security service. During his investigation he confessed to the smuggling and revealed the hiding place of the pistols and silencers. During his interrogation Jumaa also told investigators about a Lebanese individual named Khatem Sheeth, who asked him to keep the weapons until a further person would come and retrieve them.

During the investigation, Jumaa received a message on his mobile phone from a Palestinian in Hebron named Kamel Jit, who is known to security agencies, asking for the weapons. At a meeting arranged by the two, he was arrested.

The three were indicted at the Haifa District Court on Sunday. The indictment does not note at this stage if this was trading in war material with hostile agents in order to carry out attacks in Israel, with much of the affair still under investigation by security agencies.

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