Israel has determined that Saudi Arabia was serving as a recruitment ground for Palestinian insurgency operations.
The Israel Security Agency said it captured a Palestinian alleged to have plotted attacks in the West Bank. ISA said the detainee, identified as Amir Brakhat, was recruited by Hamas during the Islamic pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.
“In this context, the Umrah [pilgrimage] is exploited for meetings on Saudi territory, for the relay of messages, ideas, and plans to conduct terrorism,” ISA said.
In a statement on April 17, ISA said the recruitment of the 24-year-old Brakhat took place in the Saudi city of Mecca. The agency said Brakhat was offered $60,000 by a Hamas operative for a shooting attack near the northern West Bank city of Nablus. The recruiter was identified as Amir Dukan, released by Israel in the massive prisoner exchange in 2011 in which Israel Army Sgt. Gilad Shalit was freed.
“This investigation again illustrates the attempts by terrorist organizations to promote their activity in the West Bank through the increased use of ex-prisoners released in the Shalit deal,” ISA said. Dukan was sent by Israel to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Officials said Dukan, along with scores of others, was assigned to recruit Palestinians in the West Bank.
“Upon his return, Brakhat got in touch with Dukan and said he was prepared to carry out the attack,” ISA said. “He tried to obtain a gun.”
Officials said Hamas has intensified operations in the West Bank in 2013. ISA reported the arrest of two Palestinians allegedly assigned to smuggle some $15,000 for Hamas from Jordan to the West Bank. Dukan was identified as the source of the money.
“Hamas has been attempted to use couriers to smuggle money to the West Bank from Jordan,” ISA said.