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Resources updated Wednesday, July 03, 2019

July 3, 2019

A photo of the terrorist after his arrest (Photo courtesy of the Shin Bet)

Israel's Shin Bet foiled a series of attempts by the military wing of Hamas to establish terror cells in the West Bank and arrested an explosives expert who entered Israel with a humanitarian permit for medical treatment.

The agency cleared for release on Wednesday that Hamas had attempted to establish terror cells in order to carry out simultaneous deadly attacks in Israel and had tried to smuggle in an individual who had been trained by the group for a year to set up a laboratory in the West Bank in order to manufacture explosive devices to be used in the attacks.

Fadi Abu al-Sabah, a 35 year-old resident of the Nuseirat refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, was arrested in Taibeh by the Shin Bet and the Israel Police on May 18, 2019.

According to the Shin Bet he was recruited to set up an explosive manufacturing laboratory in July 2018 by Ashraf Sabah, a 37-year-old Hamas activist from the Gaza Strip who had been released from prison in Israel in 2015 after serving 12 years in prison for his involvement in attacks against IDF forces along the Gaza Strip border and planning other terrorist attacks.

The agency said that he was first approached after Sabah heard that he was in the process of getting a humanitarian permit for medical treatment in the West Bank.

Fadi Sabah then secretly met with operatives from Hamas' Izz al-Din al-Qassam brigades and underwent "intensive military training" including training in how to manufacture explosives and explosive charges which he could then teach to Hamas operatives in the West Bank.

He was instructed to deny his acquaintance with his recruits and supporters in the Gaza Strip and was also briefed on how to act during interrogations at the Erez Crossing and by the Shin Bet.

The Shin Bet said that prior to leaving the Strip for his medical treatment Fadi received a coat

With a piece of hidden piece of cloth that contained code words for the purpose of encrypted communication between the Hamas military wing in the Gaza Strip and recruits in the West Bank in order to plan and carry out attacks against Israeli targets.

Fadi was asked to transfer the coat with the piece of cloth in September 2018 when he crossed through the Erez crossing when he went to Jordan to get medical treatment but he but failed to do so.

In early May 2019 he contacted a doctor in Gaza and paid her to falsify medical documents to show that he could not receive proper treatment for his injury in the Gaza Strip in order to ensure that he would receive a permit to be treated in Israel. Once he got the permit he once again underwent training in manufacturing explosives "in order to ensure that he was skilled enough" to train operatives in the West Bank, the Shin Bet said.

On May 15, he arrived at the Erez crossing carrying the bag containing the coat with the hidden piece of cloth that he had received with code words.

Fadi "took advantage of the humanitarian permit he received from Israel to enter for medical treatment in Hebron but in practice did not arrive at the hospital but joined forces with elements in Hebron in order to promote terrorist activities and carry out his mission," the Shin Bet statement said.

He was arrested in a joint Shin Bet-Israel Police operation three days later on May 18 shortly after he entered the Taibeh area in Israel. He was interrogated and a serious indictment was filed against him.

"The Hamas terrorist organization is constantly recruiting activists from the West Bank for military activity, transferring funds for this activity, preparing explosive devices and weapons, and setting up terror infrastructures," the Shin Bet said.

In addition to his arrest the Shin Bet said that another 11 Hamas operatives who operated near Qalqilya were arrested between March-May.

According to the agency the suspects were asked by Hamas operatives in Gaza to prepare an explosive device for a suicide attack in Israel. During the investigation the agency confiscated a number of weapons which were to be used in shooting attacks as well as a written manual for the manufacturing of explosives.

Another four Palestinians were arrested by the agency in the West Bank village of Arabeh in the northern West Bank for promoting Hamas suicide attacks.

"The thwarting of terror cells exposed the constant effort by Hamas' military wing in establishing terrorist infrastructures in the West Bank to carry out attacks against Israeli citizens," said a senior Shin Bet official adding that "this is a systematic and wide-ranging activity waged by the military wing against the West Bank and testifies to the strategy that the Hamas leadership continues to lead in order to destabilize the entire region."

Hamas terrorist arrested in Israel after using humanitarian permit to enter Document

A migrant camp in Libya (File photo courtesy of UNHCR)

At least 40 people have been killed and another 80 injured after an airstrike hit a migrant center east of the Libyan capital of Tripoli early Wednesday, according to the Health Ministry's emergency service Field Medicine and Support Center.

Images from the ground showed piles of rubble left where the buildings had been, while emergency crews worked to remove both the wounded and the dead.

The UN Refugee Agency posted to its official Twitter page that it was "extremely concerned" about the news of the airstrikes targeting the Tajoura detention center.

In a statement, the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli condemned the "horrific crime," blaming the leader of the opposition Libyan National Army (LNA) who are currently assaulting Tripoli.

There is currently no independent confirmation on who was responsible for the attack. In their statement following the attack, the GNA said the airstrike on the center had been intentional and constituted a "war crime."

"We ask the international community through the African Union, European Union and (other) organizations to take a firm and clear stance against these continued violations," the statement said.

The United Nations envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame, condemned the attack "in the strongest terms," adding that it "clearly amounts to a war crime."

Italy's Foreign Ministry and the African Union have also condemned the strike.

There has been no response from the opposition LNA yet. CNN has reached out to the LNA for comment.

Armed conflict in and around Tripoli escalated on April 4, when General Khalifa Haftar and his LNA launched an offensive to capture the Libyan capital from the UN-recognized government. Defending the capital are disparate Islamist militia that prop up the UN-recognized transitional government.

Human rights organizations said that they have seen both sides potentially committing war crimes, including indiscriminate attacks on residential areas and migrant detention centers.

"The drastic impact of the battle for Tripoli is even visible from space, with satellite imagery showing large swathes of the city now cloaked in darkness," said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International, in a statement Wednesday.

The United Nations Security Council has voted to impose an arms embargo against Libya until June 2020, saying that there is "no military solution" to the ongoing conflict.

But Amnesty International said that the embargo is not being properly enforced and has accused Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey of flouting the ban.

US Senator Bob Menendez sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday expressing "deep concern" about reports that the UAE had transferred "US-origin Javelin missiles" to Haftar.

On Tuesday, the Emirati Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied ownership of weapons found in Libya, and said it remained committed to the UNSC resolution on Libyan sanctions and the arms embargo. The foreign ministry statement didn't mention Menendez's letter.

At least 40 killed after airstrike targets migrant center in Libya Document