Palestinian soccer player arrested
Palestinian soccer player arrested after misusing exit visa
to meet Hamas contact in Qatar
(Communicated by the Israel Security Agency)
A member of the “Palestine” soccer team was arrested on 28 April 2014 when the team returned from abroad. Sameh Fares Mohamad Maraaba admitted under ISA questioning that while he was in Qatar with the team, he met a number of times with a member of the Hamas military arm, who gave him money, a mobile phone and written instructions that he was asked to convey to Hamas contacts in the West Bank city of Qalqiliya.
Maraaba (b. 1992), a resident of Qalqiliya, went abroad with the soccer team on 15 April. He met with Talal Ibrahim abd Alrahman Shreim, a Hamas militant who had been sentenced to life imprisonment, but was released and deported as part of the (Gilad) Shalit prisoner exchange (Oct. 2011). Since his release, Talal Shreim has gone back to being active in Hamas and is currently involved in directing Hamas activities on the ground.
During questioning Maraaba revealed that, before he left for Qatar with the team, he was approached by Muaid Yusef Hassam Shreim (b. 1968), a senior Hamas activist from Qalqiliya and Chair of the Islamic Club that owns the soccer team that Maraaba plays for. Muaid Shreim asked him to meet with Talal Shreim while he was abroad. Maraaba understood from the instructions he received that the meetings were clandestine and hid them from his teammates and the team management. Maraaba was well aware that his contact in Qatar was a Hamas member and that he was performing a service for Hamas.
Maraaba’s meeting with Talal Shreim and agreeing to serve as a courier for him was a cynical misuse of the exit visa that he was issued by Israel for the purpose of participating in a sporting event.
As part of the ongoing ISA investigation, Muaid Shreim (the intended recipient of the money, phone and messages from Hamas in Qatar) was arrested on 21 May 2014.