26 August 2002

ISA and Israel Police arrest two Israeli citizens on suspicion of aiding and abetting the suicide-attack on bus at Meron Junction
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Ibrahim Muhammad Ibrahim Bakri, 21, an Israeli citizen from Ba’aneh village, met the suicide-terrorist, Jihad Hamadeh, a resident of Burkin/Jenin, a Jordanian by birth, while the latter worked illegally for the former’s uncle Aziz, also from Ba’aneh. Ibrahim and his good friend Yasin Bakri, also a resident of Ba’aneh, were Jihad’s direct partners in putting the attack into action.

From the investigation, it arises that approximately one year ago, Jihad was arrested, along with another uncle of Ibrahim’s, Marwan, who was illegally employing Jihad, who lacked the necessary permits to be in Israel. Jihad was expelled to the Palestinian Authority areas but continued to be in telephone contact with Ibrahim.

Jihad told Ibrahim that he had joined Hamas and that he wished to carry out a suicide attack. He also mentioned that he was due to carry out the March 31, 2002 attack at the Matza restaurant in Haifa but in the end, the attack was perpetrated by another suicide-bomber.

Several days before the attack at Meron Junction, Jihad contacted Ibrahim and reiterated that he wished to carry out a suicide attack; Jihad sought Ibrahim’s assistance in moving from place to place. Ibrahim expressed his willingness to assist Jihad.

Two days before the attack, on August 2,2002, Jihad contacted Ibrahim and said that he was on his way to Acre and asked Ibrahim to help him. The latter picked him up and then Jihad told him that he had a bag containing a bomb and a pistol. After Jihad informed Ibrahim of his plan, the latter contacted his friend Yasin and asked him to meet him and Jihad.

When Yasin arrived at the rendezvous, Ibrahim informed him of Jihad’s plan to carry out a bomb attack. Yasin said that he was ready to render assistance. Jihad showed them the pistol and the bomb, as well as clothes and a camera that were designed to make him look like a tourist.

The three discussed the preferred target for the attack with a view towards causing as many casualties as possible. In they end, they agreed that the attack would be perpetrated on a bus carrying a large number of soldiers. Jihad gave Ibrahim a phone number that the latter was to call after the attack and state that the former had perpetrated the attack.

In the evening, Ibrahim and Yasin proposed that Jihad spend the night at Ibrahim’s house in Ba’aneh. Ibrahim’s father was told that Jihad would stay with them until the following Sunday when he would then return to Jordan.

During the weekend, Ibrahim and Yasin worked to hide Jihad’s presence in Ba’aneh and conceal the bomb. The two were assisted by additional family members (Aziz, Muhammad and others), who knew that Jihad was in Israel illegally. Ibrahim bought two nine-volt batteries for Jihad to use in detonating the bomb.

On the morning of Sunday, August 4, 2002, the three traveled to the entrance of Ba’aneh. Jihad stayed in Yasin’s car in order to get organized for the attack and try to assume the appearance of an Israeli. Ibrahim and Yasin went to Karmiel in order to select an appropriate bus for the attack. When they reached Karmiel, Ibrahim and Yasin chose a Safed-bound Egged #361 bus. They returned to Yasin’s car at the entrance to Ba’aneh. Jihad had, by this time, donned the appropriate clothes to make him appear Israeli.

Ibrahim and Yasin told Jihad about the #361 bus; the latter said that he did not want to board the bus at the central bus station for fear of being discovered by the security forces there. Ibrahim and Yasin proposed to take him to a bus stop along the way. The three traveled toward the bus stop near moshav Shazur, with Ibrahim leading the way in his vehicle and Jihad and Yasin following in the latter’s car.

During the ride, Jihad got out of Yasin’s car for a few minutes in order to connect the batteries to the bomb and prepare it for detonation. Jihad informed Yasin that the pistol was for an emergency, if the bomb did not explode. At 07:50, the two left Jihad at Shazur Junction and drove towards Carmiel to check that the #361 bus had left the station. When they spotted the bus, they followed it until it reached Shazur Junction; they saw Jihad board the bus. Afterwards, they drove to Yasin’s place of work in order to fabricate an alibi.

After they learned that the attack had been carried out, Ibrahim informed his father and uncles Muhammad and Aziz that it was highly likely that Jihad was responsible. Aziz instructed Ibrahim to return to work as usual and that he wouldn’t tell anyone. Muhammad and Ibrahim’s father did likewise.

Since the current wave of Palestinian violence began, the involvement of Israeli Arabs has grown. Israeli Arabs have been involved in aiding and abetting, and perpetrating, severe terror attacks against Israel. Terrorist organizations seek to exploit the freedom of movement that Israeli Arabs enjoy both in Israel and in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, as well as the fact that they are well acquainted with the moods and patterns of behavior of Israeli society.

The State Prosecutor’s Office will soon submit indictments against those involved in the affair.