Jerusalem, 21 March 2002

Information on the terrorist who carried out today’s suicide bombing on King George Street in Jerusalem
(Communicated by the IDF Spokesperson and the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

The terrorist who committed today’s suicide bombing in Jerusalem was a Palestinian policeman, Mohammed Mashud Mohammed Hashaikeh, born in 1981, from the village of Taluza near Nablus.

Hashaikeh was arrested in mid-February by the Palestinian security services following information they received about his intention to carry out a suicide attack in Israel. Hashaikeh admitted during questioning to planning to carry out a suicide attack at the mall in Raanana and that he was working under the direction of Tanzim and Islamic Jihad operatives in northern Samaria. Hashaikeh even turned over the explosive belt he was going to use to carry out the attack. It also emerged from Hashaikeh’s questioning that he as also involved in the attempted car bomb attack near Mei Ami on February 8.

Several days after his arrest, the Palestinian Authority asked Israel to allow the transfer of Hashaikeh to jail in Ramallah. The reason for the request – like similar requests made recently by the Palestinian Authority of Israel – was that the Authority could keep Hashaikeh under "quality" arrest in Ramallah (namely, in a proper jail from which escape would be more difficult). Israel acceded to the request and allowed Hashaikeh to be transferred to Ramallah.

From today’s events it is evident that Hashaikeh was in fact released after being transferred to Ramallah.

These events underscore not only the growing involvement of the Palestinian Authority security apparatuses in terror, but the refusal of the PA to arrest terrorists in an effective way for a period of time, even when the PA knows for certain that these individuals intend to carry out mass terror attacks.