Four individuals, whom German authorities claim are top Hamas members, were arrested on Thursday on suspicion of planning an attack on Jewish organizations in Europe, according to the New York Times.
Three of the individuals were apprehended in Berlin, while another was apprehended by Dutch police in the port city of Rotterdam, according to Germany’s justice minister, Marco Buschmann.
According to the German federal prosecutor’s office, the four men were longtime Hamas members with ties to its military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, and were involved in the group’s “foreign operations.” Hamas controls the Gaza Strip and launched strikes on Israel on October 7 that killed 1,200 people, sparking a conflict with Israel.
Prosecutors provided little specifics about the purported conspiracy. They said that Hamas commanders in Lebanon had directed the men to transport weapons to Berlin, where they could be used to target Europe’s Jewish community. It was unclear whether or not the men had brought guns into Berlin.
The soldiers were also traced in October 2023 while they hunted for weapons that Hamas operatives had previously concealed in an underground storage in Europe. It’s unclear whether the men ever found the stockpile.
Prosecutors said the three individuals seized in Berlin were an Egyptian citizen, solely known as Mohamed B., and two males born in Lebanon, Abdelhamid Al A. and Ibrahim El R. The individual detained in the Netherlands was a Dutch citizen identified simply as Nazih R.
Lawyers for the three guys were not immediately available. The three men detained in Germany were due to appear in court on Friday.
“The arrest of four suspected members of the terrorist organization Hamas demonstrates that our security authorities are extremely vigilant and act consistently,” said Nancy Faeser, Germany’s interior minister in charge of national security. “We have the Islamist scene in our sights.”
Israel places $400,000 bounty on Hamas leader Sinwar
Meanwhile, The Times of Israel report, the Israeli military appears to have placed a bounty on Hamas leaders, allegedly dropping fliers throughout Gaza promising money for information on the location of top Hamas official Yahya Sinwar and other terror group commanders.
Images of a booklet circulating on social media Thursday offered up to $400,000 for Sinwar and lower amounts for other leaders. The flier provided a phone number and a contact on the Telegram messaging service, as well as a pledge of confidentiality.
The Israeli force has stormed deep into Gaza in an effort to smash Hamas and remove its leadership. While it claims to have killed or apprehended thousands of terrorists, Hamas’ top commanders are still at large.
The flier offers $400,000 for information on Sinwar, the terror group’s Gaza leader; $300,000 for information on his brother, Muhammed Sinwar, who commands the terror group’s southern brigade; $200,000 for information on Rafa’a Salameh, the commander of Hamas’ Khan Younis battalion; and $100,000 for information on Muhammad Deif, the commander of Hamas’ military wing, who has survived multiple assassination attempts.
Several times throughout the battle, the IDF flew leaflets into Gaza, which erupted after 3,000 terrorists crossed the border into southern Israel by land, air, and sea, murdering 1,200 people and kidnapping over 240 hostages of all ages. Civilians made up the vast majority of those killed as gunmen seized border settlements.
Sinwar took over the terror group in Gaza in 2017, several years after being released from an Israeli prison with over 1,000 others in exchange for captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, where he had been serving four life sentences for leading the abduction and murder of two Israeli soldiers, as well as four Palestinians suspected of cooperating with Israel.
He is well-known for his inflammatory speech and his support for terror strikes in Israel and the West Bank. He is accused of supervising the planning and preparations for the October 7 atrocities.
Sinwar is reported to have been hiding in Hamas’ massive tunnel network since October 7.
Muhammad Sinwar, his brother, is a top leader in Hamas’ military branch and has claimed responsibility for Shalit’s arrest and captivity.
Salameh, the commander of the terror group’s Khan Younis unit, has long been on Israel’s radar. The IDF destroyed his Gaza home in 2021, claiming it was “part of the terror infrastructure” targeted in the operation.
Deif, the enigmatic Hamas military wing head, has been on Israel’s wanted list for over 25 years for his role in the planning and execution of several terror operations, including numerous bus bombings.
Over the years, Israel has attempted to murder Deif at least seven times. The first attempt occurred in 2001, a second in 2002 cost him his eye, and a third attempt a year later he avoided. He was critically injured in a strike in 2006 but survived, losing both legs and one arm.
During the 2014 Gaza conflict, Israel attempted to assassinate Deif yet again, but narrowly missed him, killing instead his wife, baby son, and 3-year-old daughter.
Though Israel first thought Deif had been killed in the hit, he was later found to have survived.