Shin Bet Says Iran Is Helping Hamas Finance Gaza Protests
Iran is providing financing for Hamas to organize violent protests along Israel's border with Gaza, the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) said Monday on the basis of intelligence obtained from Hamas operatives who tried to infiltrate into Israel.
“According to our intelligence, Hamas is sending protesters to the fence in order to carry out violent actions and sabotage security infrastructure. Furthermore, Hamas is being financed by Iran to encourage violent activities along the border region,” the Shin Bet said in a statement released a day before the ‘March of Return' protests are due to peak in mass demonstrations along the border on Nakba Day, when Palestinians mark the “catastrophe” of the birth of the state of Israel.
So far, at least 45 Palestinians have been killed in the protests, which began some six weeks ago, and hundreds more wounded. According to Israeli sources many of those killed were affiliated with Hamas and other terrorist organizations.
The Shin Bet said it had captured an interrogated a number of Hamas operatives.
Among them was 19-year-old Yehiye Ejla, a resident of Gaza City, who was sent to cut and infiltrate the border fence to steal a security camera. Ejla told interrogators that Hamas briefed operatives to cut the fence and steal cameras in order to interfere with IDF preparations for Nakba Day. He also said that Hamas presented the protests as a ‘popular uprising' to media and not as violent operations conducted by its operatives.
The interrogation also revealed that Hamas operatives mingle with Gazan civilians during the weekly protests and carry with them fire bombs, knives and large cutters with which to sabotage the fence.
The Hamas operatives are also charged with providing tires to civilians and helping set them on fire in order to create a smokescreen, with provoking Gazan residents to attempt to infiltrate the border, and to help them launch flammable kites toward Israel, a technique that has caused extensive damage to crops belonging to Israeli farming communities.
The Shin Bet said the interrogation also revealed that Hamas operatives are briefed to avoid getting too close to the fence for fear of being killed or captured by IDF forces, but that if the fence is breached they should infiltrate into Israel and carry out terrorist attacks.
Another Hamas operative captured by Israel was 21-yearold Salim Abu Dahar, who told
interrogators that breached the fence in civilian clothes in order to set forests and crops on fire. His interrogation revealed that Hamas was financing violent activities including the launching of flammable kites into Israel.
Another, unnamed, detainee captured attempting to infiltrate the fence told interrogators that Hamas was also encouraging children and teens to take part in the violent protests.
Iran is providing financing for Hamas to organize violent protests along Israel’s border with Gaza, the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) said Monday on the basis of intelligence obtained from Hamas operatives who tried to infiltrate into Israel.