The Shabak announced Thursday that it, together the southern division of the Israel Police, several months ago arrested an Arab scrap metal dealer who raised millions of dollars for Hamas terrorists, and donated or sold for a very low price large amounts of metal to the terror group. The metal was used to build smuggling tunnels under the Gaza border into Sinai, and to build bunkers and military outposts from where attacks on Israel were conducted.
The arrest helped clear up one of the biggest mysteries in Israeli defense efforts against attacks from Gaza in recent years: With Israel upholding a blockade of sea traffic into Gaza, the IDF constantly destroying smuggling tunnels under the Sinai-Gaza border, and Israeli officials at crossings into Gaza ensuring that material that could be used for attacks on Israel did not enter Gaza, just where was all the metal used by Gaza Arab terrorists to defend themselves from Israeli attacks and to build military positions coming from?
The junk metal dealer, 41 year old Maher Attia Abu Gaba, is a resident of Gaza, but holds an entry permit to Israel, allowing him to come and go at will. He was arrested on September 6, Shabak officials said, carrying NIS 114,000 in a bag, which was meant to be given to an Arab terror cell.
Gaba admitted to having a long history smuggling money and material to terrorists. He told investigators that he was quite aware of whom he was dealing with when he brokered deals for scrap metal, where the money was going, and what it – and the metal he donated or sold – would be used for.
On October 4, Israeli officials confiscated 3,000 tons of scrap metal that was to be shipped to Gaza, imported by Gaba. That shipment was to be appended to a smaller shipment of 42 tons of scrap metal that was already in Israel, also belonging to the suspect.
In a statement, the Shabak said that the incident makes clear why Israel has placed severe limits on the items that can be imported into Gaza. In this case, the Shabak said, scrap metal that was ostensibly to be used for civilian purposes was used for military and terror purposes, to make it easier to attack Israel. “It’s clear that Hamas is capable of bringing money and material into Gaza,” the statement said. “There is no shortage of anything in Gaza.”