Israel has determined that the Hamas regime was establishing an infrastructure for missile and rocket production in the West Bank.
The Israel Security Agency determined that Hamas ordered cells in the West Bank to manufacture missiles and rockets. ISA said Hamas operatives were led by a Palestinian attorney and based in the Ramallah area.
“Communication between Hamas operatives in Gaza and the members of the terror network was carried out via e-mail and the use of disposable cell phones,” ISA said.
In a statement on May 8, the agency said the missile production cell was directed by Hamas officers in the Gaza Strip. ISA identified the cell leader as Ahmed Abu Fahida, an attorney and liaison with the Gaza Strip.
“The network’s handlers in Gaza provided Abu Fahida with instructions on how to manufacture explosives and identify potential kidnapping victims,” the agency said.
Israel has long been tracking Hamas efforts to build missile and rockets in the West Bank. Officials said such a capability would enable Hamas and its allies to target the Tel Aviv area as well as Ben-Gurion International Airport.
ISA said the cell, discovered in January and February 2013, was also working on other operations, including planting bombs and abducting
Israel soldiers. The agency said Abu Fahida told his Gaza handlers of an imminent attack.
“Investigations revealed that just days before the arrests, Abu Fahida had sent word to Gaza that the members of the terror network were on the verge of being ready to carry out their attacks,” ISA said.
Abu Fahida, 26, was recruited to Hamas’ military wing, Ezzedin Kassam Brigades, by Ahmed Ouda, identified as an officer in Gaza Abu Fahida told Israeli interrogators that his first assignment was to abduct an Israeli soldier, remove his identity card and cell phone and then kill him. The body of the Israeli was to have been buried in a secret location.
In January, Abu Fahida recruited Ahmed Yassin Shabrawi, a Hamas operative released by Israel. ISA said the two men drafted the abduction plans in January 2012.
“They made preparations to procure weapons and the necessary materials to manufacture rockets and also marked potential recruits for their terror squad,” ISA said.
In March 2013, the alleged Hamas operatives were tried in the Israeli military court in the West Bank. The military said the trial has not been completed.
This marked the second Hamas cell captured by Israel that sought to build missiles and rockets in the West Bank. Officials said the first cell, captured in March 2012, was sponsored by Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hamad.
“This latest exposure of yet another terror network proves, once again, the high motivation of terror organizations, led by Hamas, to promote and carry out attacks on Israeli soil,” according to an Israeli military statement.
Palestinian sources said the Izzedin Kassam military wing has been mobilizing thousands of teenagers in the Gaza Strip for military training.
They said Kassam introduced the Futuwa program in 2013 to train 37,000 Palestinians ages 15 to 17.
“The youth can join military wings of factions, they don’t need military training at school,” Hamas program director Mohammed Siyam said.
The training program began in September 2012 in schools throughout the Gaza Strip amid preparations for a war with Israel. The program included weekly lessons on weapons fire, rocket-propelled grenade launcher as well as urban warfare.
The students deemed highly competent were invited to a Hamas military camp operated by Kassam officers. In March 2013, Hamas hosted 5,000 teenagers for the two-week military course that included a mock attack on an Israel Army outpost.
“The program includes military exercises, particularly on weapons training and skills training in the field of military confrontation,” Siyam said.
On April 5, Hamas posted a video that showed the teenage military course. The trainees, dressed in black, were directed in a battle in which an RPG was fired at an Israeli border post.
Israeli intelligence Officials said Hamas was trying to train young civilians on how to resist any Israeli invasion. They said Hamas was also drafting a military program for girls in 2014.
See: Hamas has introduced a program in Gaza Strip schools called Al-Futuwwa at