Jerusalem, 19 November 2001

Recent Arrests by Israeli Security Forces
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

1. The ISA (Israel Security Agency) in coordination with the Border Police, recently arrested a young Palestinian, ‘Aref Bisharat, 18, a resident of the village of Tamoun in Samaria. The village is located in an area under Palestinian security responsibility. Bisharat is suspected of having been recruited by the Islamic Jihad organization to carry out terrorist operations, and preparing to carry out a suicide attack within Israel.

Under questioning, Bisharat admitted to having maintained ties with senior terrorist operatives in the Islamic Jihad organization, planing to carry out a suicide attack in Israel, and dispatching a terrorist to carry out an attack on an Israeli bus, near Tel Teumim, on August 2, 2001. This latter terrorist attack was averted, after the terrorist was caught and arrested while en route to carry out the attack.

2. The ISA, in coordination with Israeli Border Police, recently arrested a young Palestinian, Assad Bedi’a from the village of Qafeen, in Samaria. He was involved in attempts to plant a bomb near the Israeli community of Katzir. Bedi’a, 21, had connections with terrorist handlers who provided him with weapons and explosives. After his arrest, Bedi’a disclosed the whereabouts of a powerful explosive charge which he had planted near Katzir. The charge was subsequently defused by a bomb disposal expert. Bedi’a also admitted that he had attempted on his own to prepare an explosive charge.

3. The ISA recently apprehended a young Palestinian from Hebron who had undergone terrorist training in Syria. Amjed Mohammed Kamal Roushdi Al-Bakri, was arrested at the Allenby border crossing on September 18, 2001, while attempting to return to the West Bank.

During questioning, Al-Bakri admitted that he had been recruited by the Abu-Mousa Faction (a Fatah splinter group) in 1999. He stated that he began activities with the faction by distributing various leaflets, which, among other things, condemned the Palestinian Authority following the death of the leader if the Popular Front in the West Bank.

During the summer of 2001, Amjed left for Syria, in accordance with instructions received from his handlers and in coordination with the Abu-Mousa faction headquarters in Damascus. During his stay in Damascus, he underwent weapons and explosives training with the other terrorist recruits. He was trained in the operation and use of assault rifles, pistols and machine guns, RPG (rocket propelled grenades) launchers and mortars. He also underwent training in the use of various types of explosives.