(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)
March 27, 2002
©2002 Reuters/Nir Elias
Red Crescent ambulance intercepted at a checkpoint east of Ramallah.
On March 27, 2002, at approximately 10:00 AM, Isalam Jibril, a Tanzim terrorist, born in 1971 and resident of the Balata refugee camp, was arrested at an IDF roadblock near Ramallah. He was arrested while working as the driver of a Red Crescent ambulance. An explosives belt and other explosive charges were seized from the ambulance. The ambulance driver admitted that these were given to him in Nablus by Mahmud Titi – one of the senior Tanzim operatives in Samaria and well-known to the organization’s leaders, including Marwan Barghouti – in order to transport them to Tanzim operatives in Ramallah.
In addition to the wanted terrorist in the ambulance, another man, a woman and three children aged 6 months, 3 years and 4 years were present in the ambulance. The explosives belt was composed of 16 pipes containing 10 kilograms of explosive materials. The belt was concealed under the mattress of the stretcher upon which one of the children lay.
This is not the first time an ambulance has been used for the transfer of terrorists and weapons, and workers of the Palestinian Red Crescent have been sent on missions by terrorist organizations – for example, Wafa Idris, am employee of the Palestinian Red Crescent, who perpetrated a suicide bombing on Jaffa Street in Jerusalem, last January.
The organizations operate on a basis that ambulances and medical crews are not being checked and examined thoroughly at IDF checkpoints, thus cynically exploiting the instructions given to soldiers regarding their behavior towards civilians, the ill, and children.
The seizure of the explosive charges in the ambulance provides evidence of the continuing the Tanzim activity to carry out a massive terrorist attack in the midst of the cease-fire negotiations, as well as their determination to take advantage of every seeming "gap" in the IDF’s efforts to thwart terror attacks, even when these are based on purely humanitarian motives, in order to continue thier terrorist activity, even at risk to the lives of Palestinian children, the ill and medical personnel.
The event also supports the need of IDF soldiers to continue to closely check Palestinian ambulances that pass through checkpoints. The Palestinian Authority frequently complains to the media and to international bodies. If only it ordered its people to cease such cynical use of ambulances for the use of terror, they would better serve the well-being of the Palestinian public.