Jerusalem, 24 December 2001

ISA & IDF arrest Hamas terrorists connected to Haifa suicide bombing
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

1. A suicide bomber blew himself up on an Egged bus in Haifa on December 2, 2001 killing 15 and wounding dozens more. The Hamas took responsibility for the attack.

2. In the wake of intelligence information that reached the ISA, an operation was initiated on December 6, 2001 by the IDF and ISA in the village of Jalkamus during which Hamas terrorist brothers Muhammad and Yousef al Karam were arrested.

3. The brothers provided the following information during questioning by the ISA:

  1. Salim Hajeh, a Hamas military wing fugitive from Burkeh who is connected to serious attacks including the attack on the Dolphinarium, knew Muhammad from their studies at an-Najah University. Salim recruited Muhammad for military activities, and asked him to perpetrate attacks laying explosive charges along the roads in the Jenin region. Later on Salim introduced Muhammad to senior Hamas terrorist Jasser Samaro from the Nablus region, a specialist in preparing bombs.
  2. At the end of November 2001, on one of the occasions when Salim was at Muhammad’s house, Salim asked Muhammad to use his influence on his brother Yousef to transport a suicide bomber to Haifa in order to perpetrate a suicide attack. Yousef agreed to take the suicide bomber to Haifa, which he knew well through his work in the city.
  3. Salim arrived in Jalkamus on December 1, 2001 together with the suicide bomber Maher Hebeishi, born 1981 in Nablus, and the explosives belt. Yousef and Salim briefed Maher on the method used to cross into Israel and arrival in Haifa, as well as how to act on the bus in order to avoid raising suspicions.
  4. Early in the morning of December 2, 2001, Muhammad and Salim prepared the suicide bomber. At the same time, Yousef set out towards Um el Fahm in order to check if the way was clear to cross into Israel. He then took Maher by taxi to the village of Anin on the seam line, and crossed by foot to Um el Fahm from where they continued by taxi to Haifa. In Haifa Yousef dropped Maher off at a bus stop near the Paz bridge so that he can get on a bus and perpetrate the suicide attack.