Gaza Terrorist Indicted for Planning Long-Distance Terror Attacks

Gaza City seen in the background near the border fence between Israel and Gaza (foreground). Photo by Miriam Alster/FLASH90
Gaza City seen in the background near the border fence between Israel and Gaza (foreground). (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

A Be’er Sheva court on Thursday filed an indictment against Samy Habib, a Gaza resident, who, during the time he lived in Ukraine, planned terror attacks against targets there, and in Israel. In addition, the indictment said, Habib assisted Hamas in the construction of terror tunnels, and helped the terror group with strategy during Operation Cast Lead in 2008-09.

According to the indictment, Habib, who had lived in Ukraine since 2010, connected with Hamas terrorists there sometime in 2014. He had planned at least three specific terror attacks against Israelis. In one plot, he planned to kidnap an IDF officer whom he hoped to lure to visit Taba in Sinai, and kidnap him, in order to hold him hostage in Gaza. If he could not lure him to Taba, Habib planned to try and bring the officer to Ukraine, where the kidnap would take place.

In another plot, Habib planned to carry out a shooting attack against a bus carrying Israeli tourists in Ukraine, or set a bomb on the bus and blow it up. That plan was advanced, with Habib planning to carry it out in Odessa.

In yet another plot, Habib planned to supply weapons to Islamic State sympathizers among Israeli Arabs, so they could carry out suicide attacks in Israel. He had reached out to Israeli Arabs living in Ukraine in order to gauge their sympathies to IS. He also considered using a drone to attack Israelis, with the drone either operating a remote controlled automatic weapon or dropping a bomb.

Habib frequented Ukrainian airports, where he gathered information on Israeli tourists, among other things the schedule of buses that ferried them to hotels and resorts. He also sought out information about drones, which could carry up to ten pounds of explosives. During Operation Cast Lead, as well as during the period between 2006 and 2010, Habib also assisted Hamas terrorists in numerous ways, including supplying them with food and other items, as well as advising them on construction of terror tunnels.

Habib was arrested after trying to enter Israel on January 31, using a phony document attesting to the need for his mother to get medical care.