Skip to main content

Israel accuses Palestinian of recruiting militants

Nazal, who’d been in Cairo as a student since 2007, was a member of al-Mujaheddin Brigades, Shin Bet says
Israel has demolished houses in the West Bank in retribution for attacks (AFP)

Israel's Shin Bet internal security agency said on Sunday it had arrested a Palestinian for recruiting Palestinians in Egypt who received military training in Gaza before being sent to the West Bank.

The agency said Mohammed Nazal, 33, from the northern West Bank town of Qabatiya, was arrested in January at the Allenby crossing between Jordan and the occupied West Bank.

Nazal, who’d been in Cairo as a student since 2007, was a member of al-Mujaheddin Brigades, whose members have fired rockets at Israel and attempted other attacks, according to Shin Bet.

Nazal told investigators that "while in Egypt, he sought out and recruited students from the West Bank studying in Egypt, sent them for military training in Gaza and then planted them in the West Bank" to set up a military network, a Shin Bet statement read.

His Cairo apartment was a meeting place for militants from various groups, including Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, the agency said.

It said that Nazal's group and Hamas had ties that included training and the supply of arms, and that in Gaza, the al-Mujaheddin Brigades came under the auspices of Hamas, which funds and guides it.

The statement said Nazal was aware of "a major route for smuggling weapons from the Libya area to the Gaza Strip through Egypt,” according to the Times of Israel.

Nazal will be tried in a military court, the statement read.

The Shin Bet announcement came shortly after Cairo accused Hamas of involvement alongside the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood in last year's killing of Egypt's top prosecutor, Hisham Barakat, a charge Hamas swiftly denied.