A Muslim terrorist resident of the Palestinian Authority living in South Africa operated a terror network backed and funded by Iran in Judea and Samaria, Israel’s Security Agency, the Shin Bet, revealed on Wednesday.
“The General Security Service, with the assistance of the IDF, exposed and foiled a terrorist network in Judea and Samaria that operated under the auspices and intelligence of Iran,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.
The main arrested terrorist is Muhammad Maharma, 29, a computer engineering student.
Maharma recruited two Muslim terrorists from Hevron, Nur Maharma and Diaa Sarahna, both 22, who agreed to operate in a terror cell under Iranian direction. Maharma received $8,000 from the Iranians in exchange for their recruitment.
Maharmeh was recruited by Bahar Maharmeh, a relative of his who lives in South Africa and is an Iranian intelligence agent. In light of the connection to South Africa, the Shin Bet has concluded that Iran has been using the country as a significant base to locate, recruit and handle terrorists in Israel.
The Shin Bet also revealed that Maharmeh was ordered to open a computer store in Hevron. The internal security agency said that Iran was likely planning to use the shop as its base to collect intelligence and information and smuggle Israeli SIM cards and money to Iran.
The Iranians offered Maharma a training course in explosives, and ordered him to recruit an Israeli Arab citizen for photographic missions inside Israel. He was also told to recruit Israeli Arab journalists, with access to Israeli officials.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented on the foiling of an Iranian-sponsored terrorist network:
“The Israel Security Agency (ISA), with the assistance of the IDF, exposed and foiled a terrorist network in Judea and Samaria that operated under the aegis of Iranian intelligence. This is not the first time. They are trying various methods, and in various fields, to attack the State of Israel. I am pleased that the ISA and our security services have succeeded in foiling it.
I would like to bring it to your attention that Iran is using terrorism against the State of Israel not only with the assistance of terrorist movements such as Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad but is also attempting to organize terrorist actions inside the State of Israel and against the citizens of Israel.”