3 April 2002

Information concerning detainees captured in the Palestinian Preventive Security Service Headquarters in Betunia
(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)

During the course of the IDF’s current "Defensive Shield" operation in Ramallah and the pursuit of wanted Palestinian suspects, IDF forces discovered that many suspects were hiding in the Palestinian Preventive Security Service (PPSS) headquarters in Betunia.

IDF forces surrounded the PPSS headquarters on 30 March 2002. On 2 April 2002, after negotiations held with PPSS operatives in the building, 184 Palestinian suspects surrendered to IDF soldiers. Of those s urrendering, 150 were PPSS operatives. The rest were members of other Palestinian terrorist organizations, including the Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Tanzim.

Among those arrested in the PPSS Bitunya compound were wanted terrorists who took part in numerous recent terror attacks, in which dozens of Israeli civilians were killed and hundreds more wounded. These terrorists were also planning to carry out additional attacks. The Palestinian suspects were given refuge in the PPSS building and were only apprehended following extended negotiations, interspersed with exchanges of gunfire.

Following are the names of the Palestinian detainees according to their terror organization affiliations:

Tanzim:

1. Sherif Muhammed Yousouf Naji, born 1976, is from the Al-Amri refugee camp. Naji is a senior Tanzim operative belonging to the terror cell that prepared and participated in several suicide attacks in Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem and the Maccabim check point. Naji took a major part in organizing attacks, including housing and transporting suicide bombers before they committed their attacks. He was also involved in the acquisition and preparation of explosive devices, including explosive belts for suicide bombers, and was directly involved in the following terror attacks:

a. 25 February 2002 – Shooting attack in Neveh Ya’akov: One policewoman was killed and seven civilians were injured in this attack. Naji planned the attack, including the collection of intelligence before the shooting and dispatching the terrorists who carried it out.

b. 5 March 2002 – Shooting attack on Tel Aviv’s the Sea-Food Market Restaurant. In this attack, 3 Israeli civilians were killed and over 30 injured.

2. Ahmed Mahmed Atzi, born in 1975 and a Ramallah resident, also works as a local photo-journalist. Atzi is a Tanzim operative, belonging to a cell responsible for a number of suicide attacks, shootings and bombings in Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv. Among the attacks he took part in were the following:

a. 25 February 2002 – Shooting attack in Neveh Ya’akov: One policewoman was killed and seven civilians were injured in this attack.

b. 5 March 2002 – Shooting attack on Tel Aviv’s the Sea-Food Market Restaurant. In this attack, 3 Israeli civilians were killed and over 30 injured.

3. William Sameh Fares Hatib was born in 1976 and resides in Beit Rima. Hatib, a Tanzim operative, was involved in many shootings in the Halamish area, recruited and established many terror cells and was responsible for preparing explosive charges for these the cells. Some of the attacks in which he or his cells participated include:

a. 18 May 2001 – Shooting at a car near Neve Tzuf. This attack killed an IDF officer and badly wounded his mother.

b. 6 June 2001 – Shooting near Beit Rima, wounding 3 civilians.

c. 29 May 2001 – Shooting at a car near Sanjil, with no casualties.

4. Hitham Mutafak Halil Hamadan, born 1979, is a Tanzim operative and member of a terrorist cell. He was involved in many attacks, including:

a. 25 August 2001 – Drive-by shooting on the No. 443 highway near the Dor Energy gas station, killing 3 civilians.

b. 15 September 2001 – Drive-by shooting at an Israeli vehicle next to the French Hill – Ramot Junction, in which one civilian was killed and another badly wounded.

c. 3 November 2001 – Drive-by shooting at vehicles in the tunnels of Hwy. No. 1 in Jerusalem. Since the weapon used jammed after one shot, no one was injured.

5. Zapher Abd Al Juad Abd Al Rahman Ramawi, born 1976 and a Beit Rima resident, is a senior Tanzim operative and officer in the Palestinian General Security Service. He commanded a terrorist cell responsible for numerous attacks in the Ateret-Neve-Tzuf area, personally taking part in many of them. He provided terrorists weaponry and hideouts, and coordinated attacks with other Tanzim and Force 17 officers involved in the attacks. Ramawi collaborated with the aforementioned William Hatib in a terrorist cell responsible for killing an IDF soldier and badly wounding other Israelis.

6. Mahmed Mahmud Said Abu Ta’a, born in 1981 and residing in Al-Bira, is a Tanzim operative operating as a part of the Tawfik Tirawi organization. He received military training in Iraq and Jordan and is responsible for placing several charges on Ramallah area roads.

7. Ismail Omad Ismail Shakshak, born in 1977 and originally from Gaza, is a senior Tanzim operative who infiltrated into Judea and Samaria to prepare terrorist attacks. He is a former member of Jibril Rajub’s PPSS.

Hamas:

1. Ballal Ya’akoub Ahmed Dar Othman/Bargouti, born 1976 and a resident of Beit Rima, is a member of the Hamas command in Judea. Othman/Bargouti is responsible for carrying out and planning numerous recent murderous attacks, working as a bomb engineer for Hamas. Recently he was "imprisoned" by the PPSS, but given ample freedom to prepare powerful explosives used in terror attacks in Jerusalem. Othman/Bargouti also collaborated with the Hamas and Tanzim, supplying them with explosives and coordinating attacks. Othman/Bargouti was involved in the following terror attacks:

a. 27 March 2001 – Suicide bombing in Jerusalem’s French Hill intersection, where twelve were injured.

b. 1 June 2001 – Suicide bombing in Tel Aviv’s "Dolphinarium," which killed 21 and injured 84.

c. 30 July 2001 – Bombing of the "Mashbir Lazarhan" department store.

d. 9 August 2001 – Suicide bombing in Jerusalem’s Sbarro pizzeria, killing 15 and wounding 107.

2. Ibrahim Mahmoud Roub, born in 1977 and residing in Bitunia, is a Hamas operative. Alrub served as a leader of a Hamas cell in Ramallah; ran a factory as a front to employ Hamas operatives and recruited Hamas operatives, especially suicide terrorists. Alrub prepared explosive charges, one of which was used by a suicide bomber attacking Hanevi’im St. in Jerusalem. His terror cell was responsible for a number of serious terrorist attacks, including the following:

a. 29 July 2001 – Car bomb that exploded in a Pisgat Ze’ev parking lot.

b. 4 September 2001 – Suicide attack on Jerusalem’s Hanevi’im Street, injuring 14 civilians.

3. Ahmed Abd Al Karim Ali Abu Taha was born in 1980 and resides in Ramallah. Abu Taha was involved in preparing explosives for Hamas terrorists in Ramallah, including the car bomb that exploded in Giva’at Ze’ev in Jerusalem on 29 July 2001. A member of the Ibrahim Abu Rub and Ballal Baraguti organizations, he transported the suicide bomber Ra’ad Baraguti from Ramallah to Jerusalem, where he exploded on Hanevi’im Street on 4 September 2001 and injured 14 people. It is interesting to note that his father, Abd Al Karim Ali Mustafa Abu Taha, works in the Palestinian Legislative Council.

4. Salim Mahmud Salim Haja, born in 1972 and resides in Nablus, is a senior Hamas operative in Judea and Samaria. Haja was involved organizing many suicide attacks against Israel. He is responsible for the Hamas infrastructure in northern Samaria and managed the Nablus explosives laboratory that prepared the bomb used in the 9 August 2001 Sbarro pizzeria attack. Haja coordinated the operations of the Samaria and Ramallah infrastructures and the execution of the Sbarro attack that killed 15 civilians and injured 107.

Haja is responsible for the suicide attack on the bus at Yad Labanim in Haifa, which killed 15 civilians and injured 35. In addition, he took a major part in the 1 June 2001 Dolphinarium attack in which 21 Israelis were killed and 84 injured. He was "imprisoned" by the PPSS on 12 January 2002.

Islamic Jihad:

Mahmud Ahmed Yousef Ba’ad, born in 1978 and a resident of the Jalzon refugee camp. An extremist Islamic Jihad operative, he is a senior commander for terrorist activities in Samaria, responsible for bombings in Israel.

Initial inventory of weaponry seized in the PPSS Headquarters in Betunia

40 M16 Assault Rifles
5 M16 Carbines
16 MP5
21 Hunting Rifles
3 Machine Guns (50 caliber)
93 Kalachnikov Rifles
2 Gallilon Assault Rifles
2 Automatic Barreta Rifles
3 Scorpion Rifles
58 Pistols
1 Federal
3 Assorted Weapons