Shin Bet thwarts cellphone smuggling to security prisoners

The Shin Bet, together with Israel Police and Prison Service, foiled an attempt to smuggle cellphones to security prisoners, leading to several arrests.

By World Israel News Staff

A combined Israel Security Agency (ISA/Shin Bet), Israel Police and Prison Service operation led to the November arrest of several residents of Israel and of Judea and Samaria on suspicion of attempting to use a UAV to smuggle cellphones to security prisoners, the ISA announced Thursday afternoon.

Thanks to the readiness of the Prison Service, several of the suspects were arrested near the Nafha Prison.

The ISA investigation has revealed the involvement of several of the suspects in various operations to smuggle cellphones to security prisoners from 2016-2018. The smuggling operations were directed from prison by terrorists who are known to the security forces.

It was also revealed that in October 2018, several of the suspects were involved in an attempt to smuggle a large number of cellphones by means of a UAV. During the attempt, control of the UAV was lost and it crashed outside the prison. The Israel Police located the UAV in a subsequent sweep.

The investigation revealed that practice runs with the UAV had been made. There was also telephone coordination with the prisoners regarding the spot where the UAV would deposit its illicit cargo for collection by the prisoners.

The ISA and Israel Police located the 60 cellphones which were to have been smuggled.

Several attempts in recent years

The investigation has shown that in addition to the aforementioned effort, the suspects had taken part in several attempts to smuggle cellphones to security prisoners in recent years, in the context of which dozens of phones were smuggled to prisoners in exchange for money from the terrorist organizations.

In July, for example, nine Palestinian terrorists were punished after a photo on social media revealed they had smuggled a cellphone into prison.

Former Member of Knesset Basel Ghattas of the Balad party – part of the Joint Arab List, an alliance of four Arab political parties – was arrested a year ago after being caught smuggling a cellphone to a security prisoner, among other charges.

The cellphones that were seized in November’s operation were designated for security prisoners from the terrorist organizations who are serving long sentences for their involvement in terrorist activity and attacks.

Efforts to promote terror from prison

Security prisoners are leading an effort from inside the prisons to promote terrorist activity, especially abductions, in order to lead to exchange deals. Attempts to smuggle in cellphones are designed to give these terrorists the tools with which to advance their efforts. Foiling such smuggling attempts thwarts these plans.

The State Attorney filed severe indictments against the suspects.

The ISA, in cooperation with the Israel Police and the Prison Service, will continue to closely monitor all elements that assist the terrorist organizations, in and out of prison, and will take the necessary measures to thwart and foil actions that harm the security of the state.