JERUSALEM, Israel - The Jerusalem District Court indicted two Israeli Arabs on Monday for gathering intelligence information for Hamas, the Palestinian faction ruling the Gaza Strip.
The indictment charges the two men with membership in a terror organization, aiding the enemy during wartime, espionage and contacting a foreign agent.
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) arrested Marad Nimer, 25, and Marad Kamal, 24, residents of east Jerusalem neighborhoods of Sur Baher and Wadi Joz, respectively, on January 3 at the central bus station in Beersheva.
Details of the case weren't released until Monday, following the hearing.
According to the indictment, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, recruited Nimer, an engineering student in Jordan, in 2007. Nimer, in turn, enlisted his friend, Kamal, a pharmacy student, there.
Following Nimer's induction, he traveled to Saudi Arabia to meet with senior Hamas operatives.
In 2008, Nimer moved to Dubai to work as an engineer, where he continued his contacts with his Hamas handlers.
In 2009, the two men moved back to Jerusalem and began actively gathering information for terror attacks at crowded venues throughout Israel.
Nimer and Kamal shot videos, took digital photographs, drew maps, sketched Jerusalem's Malka Mall and central bus station, and estimated the numbers of visitors, especially soldiers, and provided details of security arrangements at each prospective site.
They downloaded the information on USB flash drives for easy transfer to Hamas leaders abroad. Among specific locations cited for terror attacks were the central bus stations in Jerusalem and Beersheva, the Malka Mall in Jerusalem, hotels along the Tel Aviv promenade and the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) base in Tel Hashomer.
According to the indictment, the men dug out an empty cave in Sataf, a popular nature reserve for mountain bikers and hikers on the outskirts of Jerusalem, where they planned to store weapons and explosives.
As Jerusalem residents, both men possessed identity cards, allowing free access to anywhere in Israel and making them ideal candidates for Palestinian terror groups.