Iranian Terror Cell Busted In Hebron
An Iranian operated terror cell has been exposed in Judea and Samaria, the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) revealed Wednesday. The Shin Bet said the cell was recruited and funded by an Iranian intelligence agent operating out of South Africa.
According to the Shin Bet Mahmoud Makharmeh, a 29-year-old computer engineering student from Hebron was recruited by a relative, Bakhar Makharmeh, also originally from the Hebron area, who has been living in South Africa for several years and worked for Iranian intelligence. Mahmoud Makharmeh was recruited during a trip to South Africa in 2015. The Shin Bet said he had met several times during the trip with Iranian intelligence officers who had come to the country to meet him.
Commented on the affair, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said this is not the first time that Israel had foiled Iranian attempts to execute terrorist attacks against Israel.
“They are trying various methods, and in various fields, to attack the State of Israel. I am pleased that the Israel Security Agency and our security services have succeeded in foiling it,” Netanyahu said.
“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,” the prime minister added.
Mahmoud Makharmeh’s handlers told him to recruit a suicide bomber and a terrorist cell to carry out shooting attacks. Makharmeh carried out the orders, recruiting Dia Sarahne, 22, from Hebron, and Nur Makharmeh, 22, also from Hebron. The Shin Bet said the two had agreed to carry out terror attacks under Iranian orders and that Mahmoud Makharmeh had received via Bakhar Makharmeh the sum of $8,000 for doing so.
Makharmeh’s handlers also suggested he training to handle weapons and explosives and that he set up a photography shop in Hebron that would act as a forward base to transfer intelligence on the area to Iran and that he obtain Israeli sim and credit cards to transfer to the Iranians.
They also asked him to recruit an Israeli Arab operative to photograph inside Israel and to make contact with Israeli Arab journalists with access to government offices.
An indictment against Mahmoud Makharmeh charges him with making contact with the enemy overseas, receiving funds from enemy agents and with joining an illegal organization. Nur Mahrame and Dia Sarahne are charged with joining an illegal organization.