Israeli forces arrest Palestinian fisherman for smuggling, terrorism

Palestinian terrorists continue to take advantage of Israeli gestures to assist the Gaza population, by attempting to smuggle weapons and search for ways to carry out terror attacks against Israel.

Israeli naval forces arrested a Palestinian fisherman off the coast of Gaza in August who turned out to be a Hamas terrorist involved in smuggling for Hamas and planning terror attacks in Israel, the Shin Bet (Israel’s Security Agency) announced on Tuesday.

Hamis Jihad Said Araissi, 24, was stopped by Israel’s navy after he had strayed from the allowed fishing zone in the northern Strip, on the border with Israel. Israel limits Gaza’s fishing zone because of terrorism and because of smuggling attempts of armaments into Gaza, in which many Palestinian fishermen are involved.

During his questioning after his capture, Araissi admitted to smuggling explosives and materials used by Hamas to produce weapons since 2012.

In April, Araissi and other Hamas terrorists attempted to smuggle explosives from Egypt to Gaza, but this attempt was successfully thwarted by the navy. Araissi had plans to carry out further smuggling operations after that, but was caught before he had a chance.

In 2014, Araissi planned attacks against IDF forces stationed at the Zikim beach, just north of Gaza. He conducted reconnaissance and acquired weapons for the attack. Hamas terrorists attacked Zikim during Operation Protective Edge.

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Hamis revealed “a lot of information” on Hamas’ smuggling routes from Egypt, its maritime operations and on its use of local fishermen for this purpose, the Shin Bet said.

“The information collected during this investigation, together with intelligence acquired from other Hamas terror operatives recently arrested, further reveals the extent of Hamas’ efforts invested in promoting violent acts of terrorism, in this case while taking advantage of the relief given by Israel’s to the Gazan fishermen,” the Shin Bet stated.

Israel’s combined security agencies have been successful in thwarting many hundreds of attempts to smuggle illicit materials from Israel into the Gaza Strip.

Most recently, a Palestinian businessman from Gaza was indicted in an Israeli court earlier this month and was charged with assisting Hamas’ military buildup. He smuggled diving equipment into the Gaza Strip, including hundreds of swim fins, dozens of snorkels and diving suits, which were meant for the use of Hamas’ naval commando unit.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News