A Hamas operative nabbed by the Israeli Security Agency (Shin Bet) and police last month has revealed a wealth of information on the terror group’s plans for the future. The news was only cleared for publication Tuesday.
Ibraheem Adel Shehadeh Shaer, 21, a resident of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, was caught in July trying to sneak from Gaza into Israel via the Erez border crossing. Shaer works as a tunnel-digger for Hamas’s armed wing, and has also served in the group’s logistics support division, helping provide military equipment and explosives to fighters during Operation Protective Edge.
Shaer provided investigators with extensive details of Hamas’s emergency procedures, plans for future tunnel use, and working relationship with Iran.
According to a Shin Bet statement, Shaer told investigators he had been working in recent months on some of the terror tunnels being rehabilitated and expanded under the Gaza Strip, and claimed to have been shown a tunnel stretching from Rafah towards the Kerem Shalom border crossing.
He gave security officials information on digging locations, access shafts, diggers and the routes of the tunnels during questioning. Shaer also revealed a new road built not far from the Gaza-Israel border is intended for use in surprise terror attacks, allowing speeding vehicles to storm over the border.
Shaer confirmed that material for Hamas’s war infrastructure is being brought into Gaza under the guise of humanitarian reconstruction programs following last summer’s Operation Protective Edge. During the 2014 conflict, Israel worked to destroy Hamas’s network of terror tunnels, causing the group to change its tactics.
Among other things, Shaer claimed Hamas terrorists have begun keeping explosives in their homes for fear Israel might destroy its weapons caches. Shaer said he had at one point stored several 50-kilogram charges in his home himself.
According to the Shin Bet, Shaer has been involved in various types of warfare training, including combat training, command methods, use of advanced weapons and sabotage. He said he was privy to many details about Hamas activities and the organization’s senior figures in recent years, and offered information regarding Hamas’s links to Iran.
Shaer told the Shin Bet that Iran has provided cash, advanced weapons, electronic equipment and military training to terror groups in Gaza. The equipment sent was meant to interfere with control signals for Israeli drones flying over the Gaza Strip, while the training included the use of paragliders capable of penetrating Israeli airspace.
In addition, Shaer provided details about Hamas’s elite units, its anti-tank and anti-aircraft capabilities, the location of its observation posts, and the three-kilometer range of its photographic capabilities into Israel.
An indictment was filed against Shaer in a Beer Sheva court on July 31, for being a member of, and engaging in activities, with a banned organization, attempted murder, contact with an enemy agent, forbidden military training, and various firearms charges.