Hamas plot targeting Israeli tourists in Philippines thwarted

Local outlet reports that Hamas sought to recruit Filipinos willing to carry out terror attacks against Israeli tourists.

By World Israel News Staff

A plot by Hamas to establish a presence in the Philippines and target Israeli nationals 9000 kilometers away was thwarted by the country’s police, according to a new report released on Tuesday.

Local outlet the Philippine Daily Inquirer said that the Philippine National Police (PNP) discovered a sophisticated plan by the Gaza-based terror group to recruit Filipinos in order to execute terror attacks against Israeli tourists.

“Our Filipino source identified the Hamas operative as ‘Bashir,’ who was reportedly attempting to establish a foothold in the Philippines with pledges of financial support to some local threat groups, including militant extremists with links to the international terrorist organizations,” Police Brig.-Gen. Neil Alinsangan wrote in an intelligence report cited by the paper.

Alinsangan identified Bashir’s true identity as Fares Al Shikli, head of Hamas’s Foreign Liaison Section. He is currently subject to an Interpol Red Notice for “terrorism logistic support.”

The PNP said the Filipino recruited by Al Shikli reportedly met with him in Malaysia numerous times between 2016 and 2018.

On those trips, Al Shikli reportedly provided the Philippine national with bomb-making training and the two discussed cultivating ties with local Islamic rebel groups “that will be utilized to kill Jews present in the country, conduct rallies at selected embassies and spread video propaganda in exchange of financial support.”

The Muslim-majority southern island of Mindanao has long been a hotbed of terror activity, although it’s unknown if the pair was seeking out contacts located in that region.

“This is a stern warning to all terrorist groups who plan to conduct recruitment and similar activities in the country: We have a way to know you and you cannot do your plans here,” Alinsangan said.

The Philippines’ ambassador to Israel, Macairog S. Alberto, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that the PNP’s uncovering of the plot was part of an “ongoing joint effort between the Philippines and Israel to fight terror,” underscoring the two nations’ strong security partnership.

The report did not give details as to any arrests of suspects.