February 17, 2002

Results of the Questioning of a 17 Year-old Suicide Bomber
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

The ISA (Israel Security Agency), in cooperation with the Israel Defense Forces, on December 5, 2001, arrested a 17-year-old boy, a resident of Rafah, who was on his way to carry out a suicide attack against IDF soldiers in Gaza.

The boy, Anwar Ahmed Abd al Halak Hamed, was a member of the Abu Rish faction of the PLO’s Fatah. He admitted that, when he was apprehended, he was on his way to carry out a suicide attack against an IDF motor convoy on the coastal road.

Anwar was arrested in accordance with the standard operating procedure for the arrest of suicide bomber suspects, a procedure which is intended to reveal and neutralize any explosives that are found on the bomber’s body before he is able to carry out his mission. In the course of implementing this procedure, and in order to ensure that he was not concealing explosives, Anwar’s clothing was removed and his body was searched. The manner of Anwar’s arrest was filmed and disseminated by the media at the time.

The attack that Anwar was to have carried out was planned by Muhammad Sanwar, a senior member of the military branch of the Hamas in Gaza. Sanwar has been behind dozens of attacks against Israelis, and although this information had been submitted to the PA several times, no attempt was made to prevent his terrorist activities.

The boy Anwar also admitted that members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) attempted to recruit him to carry out an additional attack on the community of Morag during the month of Ramadan. The PFLP is responsible for dispatching a number of car bombs into Israel, as well as for the assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister of Rehavam Zeevi.

Anwar is 17 years old, uneducated and illiterate. Before his recruitment into the Fatah, he was involved in the trafficking and use of narcotics. Anwar’s personal story illustrate once again the manner in which Palestinian terrorist organizations cynically exploit the young and vulnerable in their campaign to carry out large-scale terrorist attacks against Israel.