18 April 2002

Involvement of Ziyad Younis, member of the Arafat’s Presidential Guard, in terrorist activities

(Communicated by Israel security sources)

A member of Force 17, arrested by the IDF in the course of Operation Defensive Shield, was personally involved in shooting attacks and in preparing suicide attacks.

Ziyad Younis, aged 25, a resident of the village of Asira el Shamaliya, who served in Jenin as a member of Force 17 – Arafat’s Presidential Guard – since November 1995, was arrested by the IDF in Nablus during Operation Defensive Shield.

During questioning, he revealed that during his service as a member of Force 17 he was recruited for terrorist operations by the Al Aksa Brigade of Fatah and took part in a wide range of terrorist activities against Israeli targets.

About a year ago, he took part in a shooting attack against an Israeli car at Dir Sharf junction; he did not know whether anyone had been injured. During the same period he participated personally in shooting at a military jeep along the route going up to Mount Grizim, again, without knowing whether anyone was injured. He also took part in a shooting attack on a Israeli civilian vehicle, an Isuzu, traveling along the road between Kfar Kalil and Har Bracha. In the course of the attack he got out of the car with another attacker to continue shooting. The attack was filmed by yet another member of the cell, who was situated at a point overlooking the site of the attack.

Ziyad took part in the preparation of the suicide attack in Neve Sha’anan Street in Tel Aviv on January 25, 2002. He used a video camera to film the suicide attacker the day before the attack, and drove him to Zouata junction. On the way he bought a backpack in which the terrorist concealed the Kalachnikov used in the attack. As a result of the attack, twenty three people were injured.

He also participated in preparing the attempted suicide attack which was to have taken place on March 7, 2002 at Karkur. Here too he filmed the attacker with a video camera. On the day of the attack he took part in a meeting at which the suicide attacker was equipped with a bird cage, with explosives concealed in its base. The attack was thwarted when the suicide bomber was caught with the booby-trapped cage in his possession.

Ziyad added that he had met in Nablus with a wanted terrorist who had carried out the attack in which Rabbi Kahane’s son was killed, and that he helped him to escape from Nablus to Ramallah, after disguising him and making him up to look like a woman.

In his interrogation, Ziyad added many details known to him about various terrorist attacks: the murder of a Israeli from Itamar, an attempted attack in Tel Aviv, the dispatch of a female suicide bomber, and details about a work accident at a bomb lab in Fara refugee camp resulting in the death and injury of a number of Tanzim activists.

He also gave details about the intention to carry out a shooting attack at Awarta junction (which was later aborted) and the transfer of a bomb and a video camera to another military activist. He also described a place where a cache of arms was concealed in the old city of Nablus.