(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Office)

Yakub Muhammad Yakub Abu Etzev, born in 1972, a resident of Sawana in Jerusalem, and who holds an Israeli identity card, was arrested in a joint Israel Security Agency-Israel Police operation on 29.8.05.  During his investigation, it was found that he was a senior Hamas terrorist. 

He was in contact, via the Internet, with the Hamas command in Saudi Arabia, coordinated the activities of the Hamas command in Judea with the Saudi Arabian command, and served as a main conduit in the financing of the Judea command.  Abu Etzev exploited his mobility and legal status as a resident of Jerusalem and bearer of an Israeli ID card in order to carry out his activities.

Abu Etzev confessed that he received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Hamas HQ in Saudi Arabia, as well as instructions that he passed on to Hamas field operatives.  He updated the Saudi Arabian HQ on local Hamas actions.  The aforementioned funds were received by various means, including via special couriers and money-changers.

From Abu Etzev’s investigation, it arises that before the Hamas leadership’s decision to participate in the Palestinian Authority general elections, field operatives were canvassed through special committees in each community, whose decisions for or against participating in the elections were sent to Hamas’s Saudi Arabian HQ.

Abu Etzev was a member of Hamas’s supreme coordinating committee and was involved in the organization’s logistical preparations ahead of the elections.  He also founded Hamas committees in various towns and financed them with funds from the Saudi Arabian command.

Abu Etzev admitted giving the Saudi Arabian HQ’s e-mail address to Omar Natshe, one of Hamas’s main operatives in Hebron, who was also arrested.  Natshe was also in contact with Hamas’s Saudi Arabian HQ, updated on the views of Hamas’s members in Hebron regarding the elections and – via a money-changer – received funds, a portion of which he gave to Abu Etzev.

The funds that Abu Etzev received from Hamas’s Saudi Arabian command also served to finance other Hamas activities in both Judea and Jerusalem, including support for the families of suicide terrorists and imprisoned terrorists, support for Hamas institutions, etc., often under the cover of charity work.  Among the Hamas-affiliated institutions that received these funds was one on the Temple Mount.

Hamas’s Saudi Arabian command instructed Abu Etzev to open a communications office to report on matters of interest – such as the security fence, the demolition of terrorists’ homes, etc. – to Hamas operatives abroad.  The Saudi Arabian HQ transferred large sums of money to cover the costs.

On the basis of information obtained from Abu Etzev, as well as from other sources, the Israel Police, on 22.9.05, closed the offices of two Hamas-affiliated institutions.  The ISA has also arrested additional Hamas operatives in Jerusalem and Hebron.

The security establishment views with utmost gravity the participation of Jerusalem residents in terrorist organizations dedicated to perpetrating attacks against Israelis.