19 April 2002

The Arrest of PFLP operatives Khaled Halbi and Ali Abed el Rahman Mahmoud Jaradat

(Communicated by Israel security sources)

Khaled Halbi (b.1977) is a Christian resident of Beit Hanina. He is active in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and has been a youth group leader in a school in northern Jerusalem since 1996.

Halbi escaped to Ramallah at the beginning of April 2001, after the military infrastructure of the PFLP was exposed as being responsible for placing two car bombs in Jerusalem as well as a number of grenade and shooting attacks.

Since moving to Ramallah, Halbi has been in hiding, aided by the leaders of the organization. Lately, Halbi has been helping to organize attacks in Jerusalem, together with other wanted terrorists from the military arm of the PFLP.

Halbi was arrested by the (Palestinian) Preventive Intelligence after the murder of Minister Rechavam Ze’evy, and detained in the Preventive Intelligence Prison, where he, together with other wanted terrorists, underwent terrorist training by senior members of the Hamas military arm.

Halbi was released at the beginning of March 2002, during the wave of prisoner releases from the Preventive Intelligence Prison, and immediately resumed terrorist activities, aiding and aided by senior military Tanzim operatives in Ramallah. Among these Tanzim leaders were Ahmed Barghouti and Abd el Karim Ouzis.

In the period before he was captured, Halbi was engaged in the dispatch of suicide bombers to Jerusalem. He was involved in the attempt to send out a suicide bomber on March 8, 2002 (which was thwarted by the Israeli security forces) and an attempt to recruit two PFLP operatives from Jerusalem for another suicide mission, which was also foiled, on March 22.

Since the Israeli Defense Forces entry into Ramallah, Halbi has managed to avoid capture a number of times, but was finally apprehended by an IDF force on April 12, 2002, while using a false identity.

Ali Abed el Rahman Mahmoud Jaradat (b.1955), a resident of Ramallah, is originally from Sair-Yatir, and is one of the heads of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

During the years of his terrorist activities, he not only planned and directed many terrorist attacks, but was intimately involved in the details. He was considered to be a PFLP armed operative in terrorist missions.

Jaradat was arrested and questioned a number of times from the 1970’s through the 1990’s and was held in administrative detention from 1994 until 1998.

After his release, Jaradat continued to be active in the PFLP, and today is recognized as one of the top leaders in the transparent activities of the organization and as a spokesman for the PFLP. He is also known to be very close (until recently) to Ahmad Saadat. As a result of the Palestinian General Intelligence’s efforts to arrest the murderers of Minister Ze’evy, in December-January, Jaradat was arrested and later released.

At the beginning of Operation Defensive Shield, Jaradat was arrested by the IDF in Ramallah, but managed to escape. Following updated intelligence information, he was rearrested by the Israeli Security Agency.