The Shin Bet security agency on Wednesday revealed that a secret Hamas unit in the Gaza strip had tried to recruit Palestinians in Judea and Samaria, as well as eastern Jerusalem, for terrorist activity against Israel.
The unit, according to the Shin Bet, transmitted its coded messages via the Gaza-based Al-Aqsa TV station, using quotes from the Koran or subtle gestures by the presenters.
The Shin Bet named two presenters who it said conveyed messages from Gaza via signals on air, and cited an instance in which a presenter did so by placing a cup of tea on a desk and reciting a line from a poem.
In recent years the Shin Bet and Israel Defense Forces have arrested dozens of young Palestinians with Israeli ID cards, including women, who communicated with the Hamas unit and received instructions from it to carry out terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria.
The detained Palestinian operatives revealed during their interrogations that they had been recruited and handled by Hamas in Gaza, often via Facebook.
“This activity by Hamas’s military wing joins a long list of attempts to perpetrate terrorist attacks through the recruitment of operatives in Judea and Samaria and east Jerusalem, which were stopped by us and have thus far led to imprisonment of dozens of youngsters [from those places],” a senior Shin Bet official said.
“The attempts point to a strategy of trying to undermine stability in Judea and Samaria at all costs,” the official added.