PM Barak praises today’s counter-terrorist action
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak today (Tuesday), February 13, 2001, sent his congratulations to the IDF and the security services for striking at senior terrorist Masood Ayad, who was responsible for a series of attacks and had engaged in planning additional attacks.
Prime Minister Barak commends the security services’ continuous and effective actions in foiling attacks and dealing with those responsible for perpetrating them.
Prime Minister Barak views today’s strike as an additional expression of this policy, which necessitates punitive measures and striking at whoever attacks Israeli soldiers and civilians. The Prime Minister also views the strike as a clear message to those who would plan to attack Israelis, that they will not get away with it and that the long arm of the IDF will reach them and call them to account.
Masood Ayad headed a dangerous Palestinian cell of the Hizbullah in the Gaza Strip and carried out a series of terrorist attacks, most prominent among them the firing of mortar shells at Netzarim, for which Hizbullah officially claimed responsibility. He was also involved in the planning and attempted kidnapping of Israeli soldiers.
Masood Ayad took advantage of his position as lieutenant-colonel in the Fatah Force 17, and is known to have smuggled weapons and drugs to various terrorist organizations. He spent part of the last summer in Lebanon and maintains continuous contact with Hizbullah officials there, on behalf of whom he has carried out terrorist attacks within the Gaza Strip.
The terrorist cell which he headed in Gaza (of which his son, Nasser Ayad, currently detained in Israel, was also a member) has carried out a series of terrorist attacks against civilians and IDF soldiers in the Gaza Strip since December 2000, as follows:
1. December 24, 2000 – A bus from Netzarim was attacked with antitank grenades.
2. January 14, 2001 – An attempt was made to plant a pipe bomb near Netzarim. IDF forces fired at the terrorists, who managed to escape.
3. January 16, 2001 – An explosive charge was detonated against an IDF patrol near the Netzarim hothouses.
4. January 30, 2001 – On the direct order of Masood Ayad (following the detention of his son on January 29), a mortar shell was fired at Netzarim, landing on the roof of a house and causing damage to the building. There were no casualties.
5. February 10, 2001 – Again on his direct order, another mortar shell was fired at Netzarim, falling in an open area.
There is evidence that he was deeply involved in the past few days in the planning of additional terrorist attacks similar to those described above.
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