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Iranian intelligence operating in Judea & Samaria

Iranian intelligence using South Africa as base for clandestine operations in Judea and Samaria.

Mordechai Sones,

Iran Israel confrontation
Iran Israel confrontation

The Israel Security Agency (ISA), assisted by the IDF, uncovered and foiled an espionage and recruiting infrastructure operated by Iranian intelligence in Judea and Samaria, developed and funded by an Iranian operative living in South Africa.

The main terrorist arrested was Muhammad Makharmeh, 29, a computer engineering student residing in Hevron.

Makharmeh was recruited for Iranian intelligence by his relative Bakhar Makharmeh, who stems from the Hevron area but has lived in South Africa in recent years.

As part of the ISA investigation, it was revealed that Iranian intelligence had used South Africa as a significant base for locating, recruiting, and operating agents against Israel in Judea and Samaria.

Makharmeh worked on behalf of Iranian intelligence and invested considerable efforts in recruiting activists from Judea and Samaria and Israel to carry out espionage and terror missions for the Iranians. In this context, Bakhar took advantage of Mahramah's trip to South Africa in 2015, and recruited him for Iranian activity.

Bakhar even introduced Muhammad several times to Iranian officials, some of whom came from Tehran especially to meet him.

A number of missions were carried out in order to promote terror against Israeli targets: Recruiting a suicide bomber, recruiting a cell for shooting attacks, organizing a training course in munitions and demolition, opening a computer store in the Hevron area, photographing the shop and transferring pictures to Bakhar and the Iranians. It is possible that the Iranians' goal in this operation was to establish an intelligence-gathering base in Hevron.

In addition, Makharmeh was assigned to recruit an Israeli Arab citizen who could photograph inside Israel. Another mission he was charged with was transferring Israeli sim cards and money. It is estimated that these measures were to be used for attacks in Israel.

In addition to the missions he received, Muhammad Makharmeh recruited two terrorists from Hevron in order to establish a terror cell: Nur Makharmeh and Dia Serahna, both 22 years old.

Interrogations revealed that the two had agreed, together with Muhammad Maharma, to operate in a terror squad under Iranian direction, and received $8,000 in exchange for their activities for the Iranians.

In addition to the information gathered in the investigation, it emerged that Maharma was asked to recruit Israeli residents, including journalists, in view of their access to various places in Israel, with an emphasis on official venues.

In recent days, an indictment was filed in the military court in Judea against Muhammad Makharmeh,accusing him of allegedly committing the following offenses: Contact with a hostile organization outside the region, receipt of enemy funds, and attempts to gain membership in an unlawful association.

In addition, an indictment was filed against Nur Makharmeh for the offense of conspring to attain membership in an unlawful association, and against Dia Serahna, for the offense of attempting to gain membership in an unlawful association.

The ISA says the activities that were exposed demonstrate Iran's involvement in terror attacks against Israel and expose the long arm of Iran in countries around the world helping it promote hostile anti-Israel activity.