Jerusalem 30 April 2002

Tanzim terror cell arrested; responsible for shootings
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

A Tanzim cell, which perpetrated murderous shooting attacks, used forged Israeli identity documents in an attempt to infiltrate terrorists into Jerusalem in order to carry out shooting attacks in crowded places.

Hosam Shahadeh, 27, from Atarot, a Tanzim operative, was arrested on Feb 17, 2002; Muhammad Abdallah, 26, from Bir Naballah, was arrested on Feb 21, 2002. The two were arrested by the ISA in cooperation with the Israel Police. An additional cell member, Firas Hatawi, 28, from Kafr Akav, was arrested by the ISA on Feb 18, 2002.

In the course of questioning, Shahadeh told his investigators that Ahmed Barghouti – a senior Ramallah Tanzim official, and Marwan Barghouti’s right-hand man – had asked him and his fellow cell members to assist in infiltrating terrorists into Jerusalem via the use of forged Israeli identity documents that he provided. The terrorists were to carry out shooting attacks in crowded places. Ahmed Barghouti was to pay the cell members $200 for their services.

It was revealed during questioning that the cell members were responsible for a long series of deadly shooting attacks in the Ramallah and Jerusalem areas in which many Israelis were killed and wounded. Following is a representative – not exhaustive – list of several of the most prominent:

* July 26, 2001 – Ronen Landau, 17, of Givat Zeev was shot and killed while traveling in a vehicle near Givon.

* Aug 25, 2001 – Sharon and Yaniv Ben-Shalom and Doron Sviri were shot and killed when the vehicle they were traveling in on Road #443 was fired at from a passing vehicle. The Ben-Shaloms’ 20-month and eight-month old daughters were wounded in the attack.

* Sept 15, 2001 – Rabbi Meir Weisshaus was shot and killed when the vehicle he was traveling in was fired at on the French Hill-Ramot road in northern Jerusalem.

* Jan 15, 2002 – Yoela Chen was shot to death when the vehicle she was traveling in was fired upon near the Givat Zeev petrol station.