Three Palestinians have been arrested and are being questioned, admitting to carrying out missions assigned to them by ‘Iranian handlers’. Reports indicate that tasks included enlisting other Palestinians to take part in suicide bombings or shooting attacks against Israelis. A lawyer for the three men said they denied the charges against them.
The Shin Bet said “it became clear, during the… investigation, that Iranian intelligence used South Africa as a significant arena for locating, recruiting and running anti-Israel agents in the West Bank”.
A 29 year old from Hebron, Mahamoud Makharmeh is thought to be the key West Bank operative, recruited by a relative in the Iranian intelligence, Bahkar Makharmeh, living in South Africa.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that the Shin Bet “exposed and foiled a terrorist network in Judea and Samaria [West Bank] that operated under the aegis of Iranian intelligence… 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 organise terrorist actions inside the State of Israel and against the citizens of Israel”.