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Shin Bet: Hamas senior official admits funding Temple Mount riots

(JTA) — A senior Hamas operative said that the group is paying young Arabs to harass Jews at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Israel’s domestic security service announced.

Hamas operative Mahmoud Toameh, 63, made the claim in interrogations by the Shin Bet security services after his arrest on May 14, Shin Bet wrote in a statement posted Thursday on its website.

Shin Bet’s account of Toameh’s interrogations quotes him as saying that Hamas cooperates with Israel’s Islamic Movement to prevent Jews from entering the Temple Mount compound. Hamas pays a group of young men a monthly salary of $1,150-$1,440 to harass and throw stones at Jewish visitors.

Toameh, who was born in the West Bank city of Tulkarem but now lives in Saudi Arabia, was arrested at the Allenby Crossing between Israel and Jordan and was indicted on Thursday at a military court, Shin Bet wrote. The Shin Bet announcement did not specify the counts with which Toameh was charged.

He said Hamas had recently seen a decrease in the level of funding offered to the group by Iran and has come to rely more heavily on funding from donors in the Persian Gulf.

According to Toameh, the “Palestinian Business Forum” is a Hamas front.

Shin Bet said Toameh, who has eight children, has presided since 2008 on Hamas’ Shura Council, which is headed by Khaled Mashaal. He also sits on Hamas’ main economic council.

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