Terrorists Who Hid in Building Sentenced

YERUSHALAYIM -

Two Hamas members were sentenced to two and a half years in prison when they were arrested after hiding out in a Red Cross building in east Yerushalayim for over a year.

The two men, Khaled Abu- Arafa and Muhammad Totah, agreed to a plea bargain in which they were convicted of participating in a terrorist group, supporting a terrorist group and crossing into Israel illegally, The Jerusalem Post reported.

In January 2012, undercover officers entered the Red Cross compound in Sheikh Jarrah after receiving approval for the raid from Israel Police Insp.-Gen. Yohanan Danino.

The men had been staying in the building with Hamas MP Ahmad Attoun, who was arrested in 2011. They had been taking sanctuary with the Red Cross since the Shin Bet ordered them out of the city last year after their residency was revoked.

“They are suspected of Hamas activity in Jerusalem,” he said. Under the law, all activity related to the terrorist organization is banned.

The ICRC denied at the time it offered the politicians a safe place.

“Our work is only related to humanitarian issues,” ICRC spokeswoman Cecilia Goin told the Post at the time.

The Red Cross had provided the politicians with a room inside the building where they could sleep and keep their belongings, a bathroom, electricity for their protest tent, and a water cooler, it was reported. Relatives came daily to bring food and clothes.

“They just came and informed us they were going to stay,” said Goin. “We do not have diplomatic immunity, and we informed Israeli authorities accordingly because it was an unexpected situation.”