TEL AVIV – Two Hamas operatives who entered Israel from the Gaza Strip using forged medical documents were arrested by the Israeli police and the Shin Bet security agency, Ynet news reported.
The Gazan suspects, Mahmoud Maatouk, 30, and his father Ayoob Maatouk, 51, were arrested after escaping from a hospital and travelling to Umm al-Fahm in Israel’s north.
The documents said that Mahmoud, a known Hamas member, was suffering from multiple organ failure and required immediate hospitalization.
Mahmoud, who was found to be in perfect health, confessed under interrogation that he had paid 7,000 NIS ($1760) for the medical records of a sick relative who suffers from paralysis.
The two suspects also gave details regarding other Palestinians who have entered Israel in a similar manner.
Shin Bet officials said Monday, “This is a very severe incident, which shows the cynical exploitation of Israel’s willingness to answer the humanitarian needs of Gaza Strip residents in order to illegally enter Israel, something which could bring about the tightening of entry policies and eventually harm the people of the Gaza Strip.”
An Israeli court charged the two with conspiracy to commit an illegal act, fraud, and illegally entering Israel under false pretenses.