Shin Bet busts Arab-Israeli Hamas recruit planning to bomb a bus

Resident of northern Arab town had reportedly scoped out sites for terror attacks and conducted intelligence-gathering missions for Hamas.

By Adina Katz, World Israel News

A 20-year-old Israeli citizen of Arab descent was recruited by the Hamas terror group in Gaza and was plotting to carry out an attack in the Jewish State before being arrested by Israeli intelligence and security forces, the Shin Bet security agency said in a media statement on Wednesday morning.

The detainee, identified as Nadir Mahajne, is a resident of Umm Al-Fahm, an Arab city in Israel’s north. He reportedly made contact with Hamas recruiters based in the Gaza Strip online in December 2022.

His Hamas handlers instructed him to perform intelligence gathering missions for determining the ideal place for a terror attack. Mahajne surveyed local areas that are typically crowded with civilians and security sites in Israel’s north, and reported that information back to Hamas.

Hamas told Mahajane to bomb a bus line in the coastal city of Hadera, the Shin Bet said. Mahajne was reportedly in the process of taking concrete steps to facilitate the attack, but the security agency did not reveal what those actions were.

“This investigation reveals, once again, the efforts of Hamas to promote terror attacks within Israeli territory while publicly denying its involvement [in such attacks], and its false representation that it is attempting to maintain the status quo within the Strip,” a Shin Bet official said in a press release.

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The official added that Hamas regularly attempts to “cynically exploit Israeli citizens for the purposes of terror activity” and that the terror group’s leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, holds the ultimate responsibility for the efforts to recruit Arab-Israelis.

Mahajne’s hometown of Umm Al-Fahm is a hotbed for Islamic extremism, with Sheikh Raed Salah, the head of the outlawed northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, hailing from the city.

In March 2021, Umm Al-Fahm residents and cousins Ibrahim and Ayman Agbariya committed a deadly ISIS-inspired terror attack at a bus stop in the city of Hadera, shooting and killing two Border Patrol officers and wounding several others before being shot dead by security forces.