Recent arrests in Jordan and Israel show that Hamas and the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood are trying to smuggle weapons into Gaza and the West Bank. After Egypt’s army destroyed tunnels joining Gaza and Sinai that had been lucrative smuggling paths, Hamas has been cultivating replacements.
The terrorist organization recruited 20 fishermen to smuggle weapons and explosives into Gaza, Jerusalem Online reports.
The Shin Bet (Israel’s domestic security agency) arrested one fisherman, Hussam Bakr, after he visited his child who was being treated for cancer in an Israeli hospital.
Bakr told interrogators that Hamas forced him to become a smuggler after terrorists detained and beat him, accusing him of collaborating with Israel. Hamas threatened to put Bakr on an “internal security list” to prevent him from entering Israel to visit his child. He gave in.
“They told us to be quiet and not to speak to anyone. And if the Egyptians or the Israelis chase after us, throw it [weapons and explosives] all to the sea and to say that we are fishermen, to not say what we are doing,” Bakr reportedly said.
The Israeli Navy has foiled numerous attempts to smuggle weapons to Hamas off the coast of Gaza since the end of last summer’s war.
“There have been a number of smuggling attempts in recent months that we have thwarted. We are monitoring the area day and night; thwarting smuggling is one of central missions,” a senior Israeli navy source told the Jerusalem Post.
Meanwhile, members of Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood reportedly tried to create a secret military organization planning terrorist attacks in the West Bank, senior Jordanian sources told Al-Hayat.
Jordanian officials arrested 21 Muslim Brotherhood personnel for smuggling money and weapons into the West Bank. Two of the suspects were charged with getting military training in Gaza.
The Jordanian sources revealed that “these two young men tried to train other Muslim Brotherhood members in order to carry out operations in the occupied West Bank.” Salah al-Aruri, a senior Hamas official based in Turkey, also came up in the investigation.
These allegations come after Israeli authorities thwarted a large-scale transnational Hamas network planning to attack Israelis in Jerusalem, the West Bank and overseas. Hamas’ new headquarters in Turkey reportedly oversees the terrorist organization’s West Bank operations.