Jerusalem, 26 December 2002

Details of ISA/IDF anti-terror activity in Judea and Samaria
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

During the last 24 hours, the ISA, in cooperation with the IDF, has carried out wide-ranging counter-terrorist actions in Judea and Samaria, during which several terrorists – who had been engaged in directing and perpetrating attacks against Israeli targets – were arrested or killed, as detailed below.

Kabatiyah/Jenin

Yusuf (Hamza) Muhammad Khalil Abu Roub, 40, the head of Islamic Jihad in Kabatiyah and senior Islamic Jihad terrorist in the Jenin area, was killed during an initiated action by the ISA and a Golani Brigade force. The action continued for several hours, during which Hamza opened fire and threw grenades at the Golani force, wounding four soldiers – one seriously and three lightly.

Hamza was responsible for bombing a factory at Kibbutz Shaked on November 5, 2001 in which three people were injured – one moderately and two lightly. Hamza received the bomb in advance from the then head of Islamic Jihad in Jenin, Iyad Sawalha, and dispatched the terrorist who actually planted the bomb.

Hamza was behind the September 18, 2002 bombing at Umm Al Fahm junction, in which an Israel police officer was murdered and an Israeli civilian was seriously injured. Hamza videotaped the suicide-terrorist, prepared the bomb and directed the logistical planning for the attack.

Hamza was also responsible for various shooting attacks and maintained contacts with senior Islamic Jihad terrorists in Samaria. An expert in the preparation and manufacture of explosives, Hamza had in recent days been engaged in planning an additional suicide attack inside Israel.

Hamza had been imprisoned in Israel several times and was last released in 1996.

Ramallah

The ISA and IDF forces arrested Hamas terrorist Iman Amar Rashid in Ramallah this afternoon. During the arrest, Rashid and Bassam Ashkar, another Hamas terrorist who was with him, drew pistols with the intention of shooting at the security forces. The IDF force returned fire and killed Ashkar. Rashid has been held for questioning by the security forces. An M-16, two pistols, magazines and JD 25,000 were confiscated from the terrorists.

Iman Rashid, 36, originally from the village of Na’ama, east of Ramallah, is a Hamas veteran and had previously been arrested. In recent years, he lived in Beituniyah and served, among others, as a bodyguard for senior Ramallah Hamas officials Hassan Yusuf Khalil and Jamal Tawil, who were arrested earlier this year during the course of Operation Defensive Shield.

The questioning of Hamas terrorists revealed that Rashid was responsible for several deadly attacks in the past year, including the March 9, 2002 suicide attack at Cafe Moment in Jerusalem, in which 11 Israeli civilians were murdered; the May 7, 2002 suicide bombing of a Rishon Letzion billiards club, in which 15 Israelis were murdered; the July 31, 2002 Hebrew University bombing, in which four Israelis and five foreign nationals were murdered; the September 19, 2002 suicide bombing of a No. 4 Dan bus in Tel Aviv, in which six Israelis were murdered; and two attempted attacks, at the Pi Glilot fuel depot and on the Tel Aviv promenade

Tulkarm

Jamal Yihye, 31, was killed early this morning during clashes with IDF forces. Yihye was a senior member of the Tanzim and spent the last few months planning terrorist attacks against military and civilian targets in the Tulkarm area and along the seam line, and had perpetrated many shooting attacks since the beginning of the current wave of Palestinian violence.

Yihye was a member of the Tulkarm Tanzim infrastructure which was responsible for several terror attacks including the October 29, 2002 infiltration of the northern Samaria community of Hermesh, in which three women were murdered, and the November 10, 2002 attack on Kibbutz Metzer, in which five Israelis were murdered. Yihye was personally involved in attempting to dispatch suicide terrorists into Israel.

Kalkilya

A joint ISA-IDF operation today arrested Talal Ibrahim Al-Rahman Sharim, 43, head of Hamas in the city, and Nasser Al-Fatah Abdullah Nazal, 33, head of the Hamas military wing in the city. The two were discovered hiding behind a refrigerator in their apartment.

The two were involved in perpetrating the March 28, 2001 suicide attack at a petrol station at Neveh Yamin junction, in which two youths were murdered and four others injured; the June 1, 2001 suicide attack on the Dolphinarium nightclub in Tel Aviv, in which 22 people were murdered and 86 injured; and the October 10, 2002 suicide attack near Bar Ilan University on highway #4, in which an elderly woman was murdered.

This widespread operation carried out over the past 24 hours is a significant step in disrupting the ability of the various terrorist organizations to perpetrate large-scale deadly terrorist attacks.

For information on the victims of the aforementioned terror attacks, see: Victims of Palestinian Violence and Terror since Sept 2000 and In Memoriam.