Israel Police and ISA arrest two of Tourism Minister Rechavam Ze’evy’s assassins
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
The Israel Security Agency (ISA), in cooperation with the Gidonim Unit and the Jerusalem Police, have arrested a number of suspects in connection with the assassination of the late Minister of Tourism Rechavam Ze’evy.
The questioning of Salah Alawi (resident of Azariya, who collaborated with the assassins) and Mohammed Fahmi Rimawi (born 1966, resident of Beit Rima, who was a member of the assassination squad responsible for the escape of the shooter and was to have provided him with firing cover on the day of the assassination) has revealed the following facts:
A. At the beginning of October 2001, Ahmed Sadat was appointed chairman of the PFLP military wing in the West Bank responsible for the organization’s military activities.
B. Sadat’s right hand man is Ahed Awalmeh (born 1968, resident of Ramallah).
C. The two are responsible for the perpetration of many car bombings and the placing of other bombs. They recruited Majdi Rimawi, resident of Beit Rima, who recruited the assassination squad.
D. The assassination squad consisted of Hamdi Ahmed Qouran (resident of El Bireh), Bassel a-Rahman el-Asmar (resident of El Bireh), Mohammed Fahmi Rimawi, and Salah Alawi.
The following information was gleaned from the questioning:
1. Approximately two weeks before the assassination, Hamdi Qouran recruited the members into the PFLP, and informed them that their mission was to assassinate an important Israeli figure.
2. The assassins rented a commercial vehicle that was to be used as the getaway vehicle after the assassination, and equipped themselves with a Scorpion sub-machinegun and silenced pistols.
3. Mohammed Fahmi was to wait for the sqaud outside the hotel and serve as the getaway driver and provide covering fire should the need arise after the assassination.
4. Hamdi Qouran, commander of the squad, rented a room in the Hyatt Hotel the day before the assassination using forged documents.
5. In preparation for the day of the assassination, Hamdi ordered Mohammed to wait at the predetermined point ajacent to the hotel at 06:30 in order to make their getaway to Ramallah after the assassination.
6. After the assassination, Hamdi related that he was the one who shot and killed the late Minister Ze’evy.
7. Hamdi said that he spotted Minister Ze’evy in the morning hours as he ate breakfast in the dining room. At this time, the two went up to the floor on which the Minister was staying and waited behind the door in an adjacent stairwell.
8. Hamdi said that after several minutes had passed, Minister Ze’evy arrived at the door to his room. As he attempted to open the door, Hamdi came up to him and called out to him. Minister Ze’evy turned to look at him. Hamdi then shot him from a short distance with his silencer-equipped pistol and watched as Minister Ze’evy fell to the floor, bleeding.
9. Mohammed related that during this entire time Bassel was a few meters behind Hamdi, and told him that he witnessed the entire action.
10. When Minister Ze’evy fell, the two ran to their vehicle and fled the scene.
11. After the assassination, Hamdi Qouran and Bassel el-Asmar fled to Azariya, while Mohammed Fahmi arrived there separately. The three met and hid in Salah Alawi’s home.
12. Hamdi and Bassel succeeded in fleeing to Palestinian Authority territory. Salah and Mohammed have been arrested after extensive pursuit.
13. During the arrest operation, a Scorpion machine gun, two silencers and a pistol were seized. Forensic tests indicate that this was not the gun used in the assassination but one which was used by the PFLP to perpetrate deadly terrorist attacks in the late 1980s.
The pistol used in the assassination and the other two members of the squad are still at large.
The ISA and IDF forces in Judea and Samaria are continuing their efforts to locate and arrest the assassins. Their names have also been conveyed to the Palestinian Authority.
The ISA, assisted by IDF forces in Judea and Samaria, this morning detained additional suspects for questioning in the village of Beit Rima in the Ramallah district regarding their involvement in the assassination.
|Government: PFLP chiefs ordered Ze’evi murder – Jerusalem Post, Oct 25, 2001|