19 April 2002

Arrest of Hamas operatives Khaled Doueb and Nassri el Zir

(Communicated by Israel security sources)

On the night of 18-19 April, the Israeli Security Agency, together with an IDF commando unit and aided by a reservist brigade, arrested two senior Hamas operatives:

Khaled Ibrahim Tafesh Doueb (b. 1964), head of the Hamas in Bethlehem, was responsible for operating the different branches of the Hamas in Bethlehem, including the military arm.

Doueb is one of the architects of the policy of terrorist attacks adopted by the Hamas in Bethlehem and the individual who approves the attacks that are carried out. He delivers extremist sermons and religious exhortations in which he incites violence and calls for carrying out attacks, including suicide missions.

Among his "students" were Ahmad Abda and Taleb Harems, Hamas terrorist operatives who blew themselves up near an IDF roadblock on 10 March while on their way to carry out a large-scale suicide attack in Jerusalem. Doueb also provides protection and assistance to the families of terrorists.

Nassri Yusuf Khalil el Zir (b.1968), resident of Bethlehem, a terrorist of the arm wing of the Hamas, was imprisoned in Jenin in the past for engaging in Hamas shooting and bombing missions. After his release from prison, el Zir returned to military Hamas activity, and today he is one of the heads of the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade in Bethlehem and is Khaled Tafesh Doueb’s deputy. He also recruits young people for terrorist activity and is involved in bombing and shooting attacks.