update deskOctober 7

Shin Bet rejects suspicion Gaza workers gathered intel for Oct. 7 killers

A week after the invasion, Israeli security services began investigating whether some laborers passed information to Hamas.

Workers from the Gaza Strip stand in line to enter Israel through the Erez border crossing, Sept. 28, 2023. Photo by Atia Mohammed/Flash90.
Workers from the Gaza Strip stand in line to enter Israel through the Erez border crossing, Sept. 28, 2023. Photo by Atia Mohammed/Flash90.

The Israeli Security Agency, or Shin Bet, after questioning Gaza workers who entered Israel before the Oct. 7 terrorist invasion, has concluded that “there is no suspicion of intelligence gathering on their part and passing it on to Hamas.”

The Shin Bet ruled out the possibility after interrogating about 3,000 Gazan laborers, Channel 12 reported on Thursday.

Arabs from Gaza entered Israel regularly for work (17,500 daily at the time of the attack). A week after the invasion, Israeli security services began investigating the possibility that some of these men had passed information to Hamas.

Israeli officials, media figures and others have asserted that Gaza laborers, who gained an intimate knowledge of the Israeli communities bordering the Strip, passed intelligence to the terrorists.

Until now, circumstantial evidence has supported those claims.

Material provided to JNS by the IDF in December belonging to the head of Hamas’s elite Nukhba Force, who took part in the attack, included a hand-drawn sketch of the army’s Nahal Oz Base adjacent to the border fence along the northern Gaza Strip. The illustration, revealing accurate knowledge of the base, suggested Hamas had help from within.

Massacre survivors have reported that terrorists knew about their communities in great detail. Boris Volovik, a member of the 12-man security team at Nir Am, one of the few kibbutzim to mount a successful defense, told Knesset TV on Nov. 16, “The terrorists knew where the armories were on every single kibbutz and where the military security coordinators lived.”

Volovik said that in nearby Kibbutz Kfar Aza, one of his friends was killed when he approached the armory and was ambushed. The military security coordinator at Kibbutz Kissufim was ambushed at his home, he added.

One woman whose husband and son were murdered said that the Hamas terrorists knew the names of the people, how many children they had and even which of them owned dogs.

There have been individual cases of espionage from Gaza in the past. In November 2022, the Shin Bet arrested Tzabar Abu Ta’abat, 28, from Dir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, for using his status as a “trader” to enter the Jewish state and conduct reconnaissance.

According to the investigation, Hamas elements activated Abu Ta’abat to, among other things, expose the identities of Shin Bet agents and acquire information on specific sites in Israel.

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