Jerusalem Arab arrested for setting up kindergarten, soup kitchen for Hamas cover

The Hamas handler is a convicted terrorist who was part of the Shalit prisoner exchange deal. 

By Debbie Reiss, World Israel News

A Palestinian man from eastern Jerusalem has been indicted for setting up a kindergarten and a soup kitchen on behalf of Hamas in order to embezzle funds for the terror group’s local operations, the Justice Ministry said.

According to the indictment, Bilal Suv Laban met with a member of Hamas in Turkey in March, who ordered Laban to “promote Hamas activity” in eastern Jerusalem. The Hamas operative, who has been convicted of murder and other acts of terror, was deported to Turkey after Israel released him as part of the prisoner exchange deal with captured soldier Gilad Shalit in 2011.

The Hamas operative gave Laban an encrypted mobile phone that he used to communicate with him. He instructed Laban to open a kindergarten, a soup kitchen and a charity to funnel funds for the terror group, as well as to distribute Palestinian flags with the purpose of recruiting new members, according to the indictment.

Laban also met with a group of Turkish tourists on the Temple Mount in June and presented himself as a mediator working on behalf of Hamas, He collected a large sum of money from them for the terror group, the indictment said. Some $13,000 was seized when Laban was arrested last month.

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The indictment charged Laban with membership and activity in a terrorist organization, operating on public property for terrorist purposes and obstruction of justice. The prosecution also requested from the court that Laban be detained in custody until the end of the legal proceedings against him.