Jerusalem 1 May 2002

Palestinian Authority Security Services supplied guidance, weapons & funds to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in order to perpetrate terrorist attacks
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Nasser Abu Hamid, a senior member and founder of the Al-Aqsa Brigades, who was arrested in the course of Operation Defensive Shield, has told his investigators that after the establishment of the Brigades in the Ramallah area, the Palestinian Authority supplied it with the names of senior operatives in other areas in Judea and Samaria with whom it had initiated contact in order to cooperate in perpetrating attacks and in fighting against the IDF.

Nasser Abu Hamid, 31, a resident of the Amari refugee camp, was a senior and founding member of the Al-Aqsa Brigades and a senior Tanzim terrorist who was responsible for shooting, bomb and suicide attacks in Judea and Samaria. He had previously served time in an Israeli prison after he admitted murdering five collaborators but was released in the framework of the Oslo agreement.

During his questioning, Nasser detailed how he had established paramilitary militias in the Ramallah area, which had perpetrated shooting attacks, and afterwards declared the establishment of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. He received the names of terrorists in various West Bank towns from PA operatives in the Ramallah area, and made contact with them. Among these were Nasser Aweis from Nablus, Raed Karmi from Tulkarm, Abd al Karim Aweis from Jenin, Ataf Aviat from Bethlehem and additional senior figures who later became among the most prominent terrorists in the field.

Nasser described the considerable military and financial assistance that they received from the outset from Marwan Barghouti, Fatah Secretary-General in the West Bank, via the latter’s nephew Ahmed Barghouti.

Nasser noted that senior PA security service officials entreated him and the militants subordinate to him to join their services and that Tawfik Tirawi himself, the head of General Intelligence on the West Bank, proposed that Nasser integrate all Brigade members into General Intelligence, including the payment of their salaries.

Nasser admitted that he ultimately decided – along with the members of his organization – to join Marwan Barghouti, given their prior acquaintance and the former’s estimation that under the latter’s patronage, it would be possible to step up his activity. Nasser’s decision was adopted by his associates who agreed that Barghouti was the best choice for them. They also decided to adopt the name Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

Nasser also admitted his involvement in numerous shooting, bomb and suicide attacks, including attacks in which Israelis were killed. Nasser added that National Security members participated in several attacks and even took an explosive charge from its stores for one of them.

Nasser said that several bombs were regularly kept in a jeep which had been permanently parked at the Force 17 roadblock in Ramallah for use in case of an IDF incursion into Ramallah.

Nasser sees Marwan Barghouti as both a supreme commander and a friend. In his words, the two of them planned their ascent into the Palestinian leadership when Barghouti made it clear that Nasser would advance along with him. Barghouti promised to build a special residential neighborhood for Nasser and his men and their families in the future. Nasser said that he was Barghouti’s closest adviser and was aware of the latter’s military activities, including the transfer of funds and war materiel to those who perpetrated attacks and assisting in the transport of suicide bombers.