18 August 2002

Security forces capture terrorist cell involved in major terror attacks in Jerusalem
(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)

Security Forces exposed a terrorist cell of Hamas operatives from East Jerusalem. The members of the terrorist cell were arrested on Saturday (August 17, 2002) while on their way to perpetrate another terrorist attack. The terrorist cell was responsible for the terrorist attack in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the suicide attack in Cafe Moment (a Jerusalem coffee shop). It also attempted terrorist attacks on Israeli trains and fuel tankers.

The members of the terrorist cell, who live in East Jerusalem, exploited their ability to travel freely inside Israel to gather information on targets for the attacks, and to deliver the explosive charges to the attack sites. In addition, they smuggled suicide bombers through the Green Line, exploiting their accessibility as residents of Jerusalem to safely deliver them to the targets of their attacks. Members of the Jerusalem terrorist cell worked at the sites of the attacks or near them, and therefore could provide information on the targets.

Muhammad Ouda, 29, a resident of Silwan, who laid the bomb in the cafeteria at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, worked as a construction worker at the university. He concealed the explosive charge a day before the attack without attracting suspicion. The next day he came to work at the university as usual.

Wassem Abasi, 25, also a resident of Silwan worked in the Holon area. During his trips to Rishon Lezion he marked the billiards club as a target for a terror attack, in which 16 people were killed and 55 wounded (May 7, 2002). Abasi also provided information on a fuel tanker parked in Holon, later targeted for attack.

Also arrested were Wael Kassem, 30, a resident of Ras al Amud, leader of the terrorist group, and Ala Abasi, 30, a resident of Ras al Amud, who collected intelligence information for the terrorist attacks.