Jerusalem, 29 October 2001

ISA & Police arrest Israeli Arab terrorist cell including son of Nahariya suicide bomber
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

A joint investigation by the Israel Security Agency (ISA) and the Israel Police Galilee sub-district CID led to the arrest on September 9, 2001 of Salah Hebeishi from Abu Sinan, son of Muhammed Shakher Hebeishi who perpetrated the suicide bombing at the Nahariya train station on September 9, leading to the deaths of two civilians and a soldier.

Questioning by the Police and ISA revealed that Salah was aware of his father’s intention to kidnap students from the merchant marine school in Acre in order to hand them over to Hizbullah in Lebanon. His father sought to recruit more accomplices in order to assist in perpetrating the abduction.

The arrest of Salah led to the arrest of six other people, including Amad Sarhan and Osama Yassin who, together with Salah, planned to aquire weapons in order to perpetrate additional attacks including:

* Abduction of a soldier, tying him to a tree and stealing his weapon. * Abduction and murder of an armed religious Jew, and stealing his weapon. * Stoning olice vehicles from a hill near Umm el Fahm. * Attacks on an escort sevice in Haifa.

During questioning, Amad Sarhan admitted to murdering a prostitute in Haifa in 1996. The murder was perpetrated for nationalistic motives because the prostitute used to work near a mosque in Haifa. It was further revealed that during the first days of the current wave of Palestinian violence, while he was in Jerusalem to participate in the disturbances, Amad attacked a Border Police officer and struck him with an axe.

Three of the other suspects were involved in criminal activities including robbery, attacking Jews for criminal reasons, and some of them were present during Amad Sarhan’s attack on the Border Police officer in Jerusalem.

Indictments will be presented against the suspects during the coming week in Haifa District Court by the Haifa District Attorney.