ISA Uncovers Attempt to Infiltrate a Hamas Explosives Expert into Israel by
Exploiting a Humanitarian Permit
(Communicated by the ISA)
The following has been cleared for publication:
The Israel Security Agency (ISA) has uncovered an attempt to infiltrate into
Israel an explosives expert who was trained by the Hamas military wing over
the course of approximately one year in order to establish an explosives lab
in Judea and Samaria that would produce IEDs for use in terrorist attacks in
Israel. The explosives expert entered Israel on a humanitarian permit in
order to receive medical treatment.
In recent months, the ISA has also thwarted attempts by the Hamas terrorist
organization in the Gaza Strip to establish a number of terrorist cells
throughout Judea and Samaria in order to carry out terrorist attacks.
This activity was exposed following a series of recent arrests of militants
who had been recruited by the military wing of Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Fadi Abu al-Sabah – Explosives expert who entered Israel by exploiting a
Fadi Abu al-Sabah, 35, a resident of Nusseirat in the Gaza Strip, was
arrested in Taibeh on 18 May 2019 by the ISA and the Israel Police.
Fadi Abu al-Sabah was recruited into the Hamas military wing in July 2018,
in order to establish a lab for the production of explosives to be used in
severe terrorist attacks the goal of which was to kill Israelis. He
underwent intensive military training that prepared him to manufacture
explosive materials and IEDs. He was also trained how to pass the
questioning at Erez Crossing and interrogation by the ISA, and was
instructed to deny knowing his Gaza-based handlers and trainers.
Fadi was recruited by Ashraf Sabah, 37, a Hamas militant from the Gaza
Strip, who was released from an Israeli prison in 2015 after having served
12 years’ imprisonment for involvement in bomb attacks against IDF forces
along the Gaza Strip border and for planning additional attacks.
ISA and Israel Police investigations have revealed that in July 2018 Fadi
was first contacted by Ashraf Sabah after the latter heard that he was in
the process of applying for a humanitarian permit to receive medical
treatment in Judea and Samaria. The goal of contacting Fadi was to exploit
the entry permit in order to advance terrorist activity.
In July-September 2018, Fadi met secretly with Izzedine al-Qassam militants
who trained him in explosives in order for him to establish an explosives
lab, manufacture IEDs and train additional militants in Judea and Samaria.
The secret meetings were held at the home of Matsab Hasalmon, a member of
the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, who was expelled in the Shalit deal, and in
the presence of Ashraf Sabah, his brother Hassan Sabah and additional Hamas
It was also learned that before leaving to receive medical treatment, Fadi
received from Ashraf a coat with a hidden piece of cloth upon which were
written code words for encrypted communication between the military wing of
Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the recruits in Judea and Samaria for use in
planning and carrying out terrorist attacks against Israeli targets.
Fadi was told to deliver the coat upon passing through the Erez Crossing in
September 2018 in order to receive medical treatment in Jordan but was
unable to do so.
Prior to his most recent entry into Israel (May 2019), Fadi contacted a
doctor in Gaza and paid her to prepare false documents purporting to show
that he could not receive proper treatment in the Gaza Strip to help ensure
that he would receive a permit for treatment in Israel.
Upon receiving the permits, Fadi underwent training in the preparation of
explosives so that he might be proficient enough to train additional
militants in Judea and Samaria.
On 15 May 2019, Fadi went to the Erez Crossing carrying a bag containing the
aforesaid coat with the hidden piece of cloth. He exploited the
hu8manitarian permit he had received to enter Israel in order to receive
medical treatment in Hebron. Instead, he joined up with elements in Hebron
in order to advance terrorist activities and carry out his mission.
As mentioned above, he was arrested in a joint ISA-Israel Police operation
on 18 May shortly after entering Taibeh in Israel. With him were also
arrested several Gazans who were present in Israel illegally and who were
suspected of either assisting him or knowing about his activities. These
suspicions were seen to be unfounded and they were released.
Following his investigation, a severe indictment was filed against Fadi in
Judea Military Court.