Arabs from Galilee planned terror attacks for Hamas

Cell leader Muhammad Khaled Halaila made contact with Hamas operatives in Strip, who provided him with instructions on how to manufacture explosives.

By Israel Today Staff | | Topics: Hezbollah, Terrorism, Hamas, War on Terror
Israeli Arabs take part in a rally marking the "Nakba," a term used by Palestinians and their supporters to describe Israel’s creation, near Sakhnin in northern Israel, April 5, 2022. Photo by Jamal Awad/Flash90.
Israeli Arabs take part in a rally marking the "Nakba," a term used by Palestinians and their supporters to describe Israel’s creation, near Sakhnin in northern Israel, April 5, 2022. Photo by Jamal Awad/Flash90.

Thirteen Arabs from northern Israel have been charged with planning terrorist attacks on behalf of Hamas, the Israel Police and Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) cleared for publication on Sunday.

The suspects, most of them residents of Sakhnin in the Lower Galilee, purchased weapons from terrorists in Judea and Samaria. They were arrested over the past months, the security services said.

The 13 individuals were indicted at Haifa District Court on Sunday. The prosecution requested that the suspects remain in custody until the end of proceedings.

Cell leader Muhammad Khaled Halaila made contact with Hamas terrorist operatives in Strip, who provided him with instructions on how to manufacture explosives. Together with his deputy, Muhammad Yosef Halaila, he worked to recruit additional members to the cell.

According to the State Attorney’s Office, the latter traveled to the Samaria city of Jenin with the aim of getting acquainted with Hamas terrorists there and gaining “theoretical and practical knowledge regarding the assembly of explosive devices.”

The Sakhnin cell also discussed the possibility of its members enlisting in the Israel Defense Forces or the Israel Police to acquire combat skills and steal military-grade weapons, the State Attorney’s Office said.

The accused were said to have considered numerous targets for their bombing attacks, including Haifa’s Kiryat interchange and city buses. They discussed sending photos of a Rafael Advanced Defense Systems arms factory to Hamas in Gaza so that the terrorist group could target the site with rockets.

During arrest raids, security personnel seized firearms, ammunition and other equipment. As part of the investigation, one Palestinian resident of Judea and Samaria was arrested on suspicion of trafficking weapons.

The investigation revealed that some of the suspects attacked Kibbutz Eshbal in the Lower Galilee with Molotov cocktails during the Arab riots that accompanied the IDF’s “Operation Guardian of the Walls” in May 2021.

One-third of Israel’s Arab citizens disagree with the statement that Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre of 1,200 people in the northwestern Negev “does not reflect Arab society, the Palestinian people and the Islamic nation,” according to a poll published late last year.

Thirty-three percent of those surveyed disagreed with the statement while a further 11% “didn’t know.” Among Muslims only (separating out Druze and Christian Israelis) the number was larger, with 34.5% disagreeing with the statement and 12.5% answering “didn’t know.”

The poll results, similar to those of a survey published several weeks earlier, indicate that a significant number of Arab Israelis harbor views that put them at odds with the country’s values.

The earlier poll, conducted by Tel Aviv University, found that 32% of Arab Israelis do not believe that Hamas terrorists intentionally targeted women and children on Oct. 7.

With reporting by JNS.