Jerusalem, 6 May 2002

Terrorist responsible for planning April 12 suicide bombing in Jerusalem arrested during Operation Defensive Shield
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Muataz Muhammed Abdallah Himouni, 21, a resident of Mazruk/Hebron, was arrested in the course of Operation Defensive Shield on April 25, 2002. During questioning, he confessed to planning and directing the April 12, 2002 suicide attack at Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market, which was perpetrated by Andalib Suleiman from Beit Fajar, and in which four people were killed – including two foreign workers from China – and dozens were injured.

Muataz confessed to establishing a terror cell, the goal of which was to perpetrate attacks against IDF forces. One of the cell members told Muataz that he knew Andalib from Beit Fajar, who was ready to perpetrate a suicide attack and who was registered with the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Bethlehem as a suicide terrorist.

Muataz, who was in contact with Taleb Amr "Abu Ali", a Tanzim military activist from Bethlehem who was supposed to provide the cell with weapons, told him that there was a young lady ready to commit suicide. "Abu Ali" said that he would put Muataz in contact with Marwan Zaloum, a senior Tanzim operative from Hebron, who was later killed in an action initiated by Israeli forces.

Muataz said that he told all concerned that the attack would take place in Haifa even though his intended target was Jerusalem.

Muataz confessed that it was Marwan Zaloum who provided the explosives for the attack. A few days before the attack, Muataz photographed Andalib – dressed in black and holding a Koran – with a video camera.

Approximately two days before the attack, Muataz and Andalib met with Marwan Zaloum, who explained how to activate the bomb. The bomb – three plastic pipes and a battery – was concealed in a black handbag.

On the day of the attack, Andalib was driven to Abu Dis, from where she took a taxi to Jerusalem. Muataz had ordered her to go to Jaffa Road or the Mahane Yehuda market and perpetrate the attack in a crowded place.