Jerusalem, 25 November 2001

ISA uncovers Iraqi supported Palestinian terrorist cell
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

The Israel Security Agency (ISA) recently uncovered an extensive terrorist infrastructure in the Ramallah and Jenin areas, supported by Iraq and the pro-Iraqi Palestine Liberation Front led by Mahmoud Abbas, an Iraqi based member of the Palestine National Council. Abbas’s deputy is Ala Hasin, aka Ali Mustafa, who was one of the hijackers of the Achille Lauro and was responsible for the group’s training camps, logistics and the carrying out of attacks. The terrorists who belonged to this infrastructure received military training in training camps in Iraq.

The Iraqis provided financing through their intelligence services, as well as various military supplies, a portion of which was smuggled into the Palestinian Authority areas in PA official Abdul Razek Yehiye’s vehicle, which has VIP license plates and – as per the Oslo Agreement – is not searched at border crossings.

The ISA has detained more than 15 people, several of whom had undergone military training in Iraq in which they were trained in the use of small arms, RPGs, machine guns and hand grenades, as well as in the use and production of explosives and detonation systems including electrical, chemical and cellular detonators. They also participated in military exercises, physical training and navigation exercises. The foregoing was accompanied by lectures with a strong ideological content, championing the armed struggle to liberate Palestine.

Funds for the group were sent from Iraq via couriers, and via Jordanian banks that used bank-to-bank transfers to send the money to banks in the PA.

Members of the infrastructure, which planned to perpetrate spectacular attacks within Israel at Ben Gurion airport as well as in the centers of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, managed to commit a number of attacks, among them:

  • The abduction and murder of the late Yuri Gushchin from Jerusalem this past July.
  • Planting a bomb in the vicinity of the Checkpost junction in Haifa in which three women and two police officers were lightly wounded.
  • Planting a bomb aimed at IDF soldiers in the vicinity of Um Safa. The bomb was discovered and neutralized. In addition, shooting attacks against vehicles traveling on bypass roads in the vicinity of Ramallah/Binyamin.
  • Attempting to plant a bomb on a bus of soldiers in the Jenin region which was not carried out due to an altercation with an IDF force.

    Following are the main terrorist figures arrested:

    1. Muhammed Kundos, resident of Senjil, recruited by PLF Secretary General Abu el Kabas, in order to direct the activities of the framework within the boundaries of the PA.

    2. Mamoun Hamdan, resident of el-Bireh, responsible for the acquisition of weapons for the organization. During the course of his questioning, he revealed 400 kilograms of materials to construct bombs, which he had bought from merchants dealing in the sale of chemicals.

    3. Jalal Mutzlah, resident of el-Bireh, served as the organization’s courier and passed funds and messages between the West Bank and Jordan.

    4. Ali Udeh, resident of Dir Amar, served as the driver of Abed el Razek Yehiyeh, head of the PA’s monitoring committee, and smuggled weapons for the organization under the cover of his immunity.

    5. Other terrorists arrested were: Metbah Salah, resident of Jedirah, Nidal Ziad, resident of Kalandiya and Ahmed Hadir, resident of Atarot, who were all involved in the abduction of late Yuri Gushchin and handing him over to his murderers.