Jerusalem, 2 January 2002

ISA uncovers Hamas missile industry plans
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

The ISA (Israel Security Agency) has recently arrested a member of the Hamas from the Gaza Strip command who was sent overseas to arrange funding for the Kassem missile project, and transfer of the funds to Judea and Samaria.

Documents were found on the emissary describing in great detail the development of the Kassem missile industry in the Gaza Strip, those behind these activities, financial costs and the intentions of the command in Gaza to transfer the accumulated knowledge and experience to Hamas operatives in Judea and Samaria.

The emissary, Osama Zohadi Hamed Karika, born in 1974, resident of Sejayeh Turkaman, was arrested on December 18, 2001, at the Rafiah crossing. Under questioning, he admitted that during the month of August 2001 he was recruited by Nidal Fathi Rabah Farhat, a senior Hamas operative in the Gaza Strip. Farhat asked Karika to leave on a mission to Saudi Arabia in order to coordinate activities with members of the organization that he would meet there. Farhat directed Karika to say that he intended to make a pilgrimage to Mecca.

In September 2001, Karika departed for Saudi Arabia, where he met, by prior arrangement, a Hamas member and passed on the messages in return for which he received money earmarked for activities of terrorist cells in the field.

At the beginning of December 2001, Karika was again asked to go on a mission for Farhat. For the purpose of his departure, Karika was furnished with medical documents testifying that the trip was for medical treatment. During the course of the security check at the Rafiah border crossing, he raised suspicions and was arrested and handed over to the ISA for questioning.

Karika turned over to his investigators classified internal documents that he had been asked to convey.

Security sources stated that the activities of Nidal Farhat, and his intentions to copy the missile industry to Judea and Samaria, are known to the Palestinian security mechanisms, which have taken no action against him so far.