18 November 2002

IDF and Border Police operation at Palestinian Preventive Security Service (PPSS) headquarters in Gaza City
(Communicated by Israeli military sources)

The Palestinian Preventive Security Service in the Gaza Strip, headed by Rashid Abu Shoubak and Samir Mashrahawi, has changed over the past two years from an organization whose purpose it was to thwart terrorism into one that blatantly supports and assists it.

The PPSS has itself become a terrorist organization, generating, initiating, backing, and giving protection to a great number of terrorists and a long line of terrorist attacks, both against IDF units and Israeli communities in the Gaza Strip.

Even half a year before the outbreak of the current violence, senior members of the PPSS had begun to clandestinely induce terrorism. As an example, the series of roadside bomb attacks on the Karni-Nitzanim road throughout 2000, in which an Israeli soldier was killed, received support and logistical backing from operatives within the organization, including senior PPSS officers.

Since the outbreak of the current violence, the PPSS headquarters in Tel al-Hawa converted itself into the main center for the manufacturing of weapons and a safe haven for terrorists planning to carry out attacks in the Gaza Strip. Within the headquarters, and with full knowledge and consent from senior members of the PPSS, a huge amount of weapons was manufactured and stockpiled.

These included: mortar-bombs, explosives, large numbers of grenades, anti-tank missiles, and much more.

These weapons were handed out freely to terrorist cells belonging to Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, and Fatah, which used them to carry out daily bomb and shooting attacks in the Gaza Strip.

A key figure in the manufacturing of these weapons was the chief officer in charge of explosives in the PPSS, Talal Muhseen, who was under the direct command of Abu Shoubak. Muhseen, 50, of Gaza, had in the past been imprisoned in Israel for 18 years for carrying out a terrorist attack. Muhseen exploited his resources and offices at the headquarters in Tel al-Hawa to systematically manufacture large quantities of weapons. In addition, Muhseen received large amounts of money which he used to set up many weapons-manufacturing workshops in Gaza City. Talal Muhseen’s actions were carried out in full knowledge and with the full support of the heads of the PPSS, Rashid Abu Shoubak and Samir Mashrahawi.

Muhseen coordinated his activities with the Palestinian Authority and the different terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, including Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. The Islamic Jihad has recently been behind the firing of mortar-bombs on Israeli communities, the placing of roadside bombs, and the deadly terrorist attack in Hebron in which 12 Israelis were murdered and 15 wounded.

Yussuf Miqdad, a resident of the Sheikh Ajin neighborhood of Gaza City, was an officer in the PPSS at the time of his arrest by Israeli security forces on November 14, 2002. In his interrogation, Miqdad admitted that he had been ordered by his superiors to fire mortar-bombs at Israeli communities, while accompanied by wanted operatives of Hamas. Miqdad also admitted that, during the past two years in the PPSS, he had worked with other officers to manufacture hundreds of mortar-bombs, anti-tank shells, and rockets. He told security forces that Talal Muhseen was the officer in charge of weapons-manufacturing.

Other information that surfaced from Miqdad’s interrogation was about how the PPSS actively sponsored and encouraged the setting up of many workshops in Gaza City used to manufacture weapons. These weapons were used by many different terrorist organizations to carry out attacks against IDF units and Israeli civilians. Miqdad also told security forces that the PPSS had also manufactured a cannon with an especially large bore.

A captain in the PPSS, Nabil Houdoud, recruited Yussuf Miqdad at the beginning of the intifada to manufacture weapons. He started off as a courier, bringing thousands of shekels from his commander to Muhseen. This money was used to set up weapons-manufacturing workshops. Later, instructed by his commander, Miqdad persuaded his brother, Hisham (also arrested by the IDF on November 14) to join him in manufacturing weapons. In his interrogation, Hisham admitted that he had produced over 1,000 stabilizers for anti-tank missiles.

Miqdad revealed that there was a whole network of weapons-manufacturing workshops, whose owners had been "persuaded" by Muhseen and his people to work for them. This network consisted of:

* Miqdad’s workshop, which produced thousands of stabilizers for anti-tank missiles, and 122 mm mortars; * Samir Sbagh’s workshop in Jebalya, which produced 122 mm mortar-bombs; * The Abu al-Ful family workshop in Jebalya, which produced mortar-bombs; * Monsur Fasih’s workshop in the Shati refugee camp.

These weapons-manufacturing workshops were all subsequently demolished by the IDF.

According to Miqdad, many officers in the PPSS took part in the manufacturing of weapons or in the "persuading" of workshop owners in Gaza to manufacture weapons. Among them: Talal Muhseen, Yussuf Miqdad, Hatem Ashqar, Abdullah Karim Zayim, Munir Abu Sal, Hatem Hamrawi, and Yussuf Silawi.

Miqdad also divulged that PPSS officers had taken part in firing mortars at Israeli communities, as well as taking part in other terrorist attacks. Other terrorists involved are: Safwat Rahman, Ayman Abu Tel, and Suhiel Batuji.

Miqdad emphasized that he was sent many times by Muhseen to transfer molds for mortar-bombs from the workshops to the warehouse in the Shati refugee camp. As a result of the poor conditions in the warehouse, an explosion occurred in which two residents were killed.

The network of weapons-manufacturing workshops run by the Palestinian Preventive Security Service under the command of Muhseen produced thousands of mortar-bombs, anti-tank missiles, rockets, and various other kinds of weapons. It was revealed that Muhseen had made every effort to produce such weapons to enable the different terrorist organizations (including Hamas and the Islamic Jihad) to carry out terrorist attacks inside Israel.

The military wing of the Fatah organization, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, has long been under the dominance of the PPSS in the Gaza Strip. Operatives of this organization, who are responsible for a series of vicious terrorist attacks, received a large quantity of weapons from the PPSS. Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, and Palestinian Popular Resistance organizations also received support and protection from the Palestinian Preventive Security Service.