Hamas recruited an Arab citizen of Israel to carry out a bombing in the coastal plain city of Hadera, the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) said on Wednesday.
The suspect, identified as 20-year-old Umm al-Fahm resident Muhammad Nadir Mahajna, was arrested a few weeks ago in a joint operation of the Shin Bet and the Israel Police’s Coastal District and Gideonim undercover unit forces.
According to the Shin Bet, Mahanja was recruited a few months ago by the “military” wing of the Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip. It directed him to carry out an attack with an explosive device on the No. 921 bus line in Hadera.
He was under “financial and mental pressures” that drew him closer to the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, to which Hamas is affiliated, and he decided to carry out a terrorist attack, the agency said.
Mahanja was arrested in possession of media used to communicate with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the Shin Bet said. He collected information about possible locations to carry out an attack, including taking pictures of trash bins in the parking lot of the municipal soccer stadium in Afula in the Jezreel Valley.
On May 9, the Haifa District Attorney’s Office filed an indictment against Mahanja.
“The investigation of the affair once again reveals the efforts of Hamas to promote terrorist activity in Israel while trying to publicly distance its involvement and at the same time pretending that it wants to promote the moves towards a settlement in the Gaza Strip. This, while cynically exploiting the population of Israeli citizens and recruiting them for terrorist activity,” the Shin Bet said.
“Responsibility for such activities rests with the leadership of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, headed by Yahya Sinwar. The Shin Bet together with the Israel Police will continue to work to thwart terrorist activity on the part of the terrorist organizations and use all the means at their disposal to protect the security of the State of Israel and its citizens and to bring to justice all the parties involved.”
In January, two Israeli citizens from Mu’awiya, near Umm al-Fahm, were arrested after being recruited by Hamas to carry out bombings inside Israel.
On May 18, Israeli security personnel arrested a Hamas terrorist who was planning to carry out a shooting attack in Jerusalem. In April, it was revealed that police thwarted a Hamas Temple Mount shooting plot.