TIMES OF ISRAEL – Israel’s Shin Bet security service revealed last week it had uncovered an Iranian-backed terror cell that attempted to carry out attacks in Israel and the West Bank, including against National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and former Likud lawmaker Yehudah Glick.
According to a statement, three Palestinians, Murad Kamamja, Hassan Mujarima and Ziad Shanti, and two Arab Israelis, Hamad Hammadi and Yusef Hamad, were arrested. Prosecutors have charged the men with contact with a foreign agent, arson and aiding infiltrators.
According to prosecutors, an Iranian intelligence operative based in Jordan tasked Kamamja and Mujarima with smuggling weapons and organising terror operations, including plans to set cars and gas stations alight.
They were told to ensure that the acts were documented on video, and that they would be paid.
They were also tasked with gathering intelligence on Ben Gvir’s and Glick’s security.
Kamamja and Mujarima were responsible for recruiting Shanti, who then recruited the two Arab Israelis, who set fire to at least four cars in Haifa, recording the acts on video.
In July, the indictment said, Hammadi — acting on Shanti’s orders — checked out locations along the Israel-Jordan border that were best suited for smuggling infiltrators into Israel.
During questioning, Shanti admitted he was aware of Tehran’s support and financial backing of the cell.
“The investigation reveals the nature of Iran’s methods of using Israeli citizens, including people with a criminal background, and recruiting them to promote terrorist activity on criminal operation platforms, in exchange for financial payment,” the Shin Bet said in its statement.
Ben Gvir lauded the Shin Bet for thwarting the plans, and vowed to “continue to act fearlessly and with determination to bring about a fundamental change in the conditions of imprisonment for the terrorists in prison, to continue the fight against terrorism, to safeguard the rights of prayer and Jewish sovereignty on the Temple Mount, and to ensure the security and peace of Israeli citizens.”
Several Iranian plots aiming to harm Israelis inside the country and around the world have been uncovered over the past year.
Meanwhile, Tehran’s UN ambassador has accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of issuing a threat in his recent UN General Assembly speech to use nuclear weapons against the Islamic Republic, citing a line in which the premier’s office has clarified he misspoke.
Amir Saeid Iravani sent a letter of complaint to the UN secretary general and the presidents of the General Assembly and Security Council, expressing “strong condemnation” of the address, Iran’s IRNA news agency reported.
In his speech, Netanyahu spent significant time on the Iranian nuclear threat and Tehran’s support for terrorism. Citing the 2015 agreement aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program, he said the Islamic Republic was violating the deal and “sanctions must be snapped back”.
“Above all, Iran must face a credible nuclear threat,” Netanyahu said.
His office put out a statement shortly after the speech saying he had misread the line and intended to say a “credible military threat”.
Ignoring the clarification, Iravani said Netanyahu had “made explicit threats to use nuclear weapons against an independent member state of the United Nations”.
He claimed the threat “becomes more serious and intense” when coming from Israel, which he described as an “illegitimate regime that has been widely condemned for aggressions, for apartheid policies and for support for terrorism, as well as for possessing an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction alongside advanced conventional weapons.”
He urged a “strong response from the international community”, asserting Iran’s right for a “decisive response to any threats and illegal actions caused by the Israeli regime,” and asking for his letter to be published as a Security Council document.