Jerusalem, 7 October 2002

Three Israeli Arabs arrested in ISA-Police operation
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

A joint ISA-Israel Police operation on September 2, 2002 resulted in the arrest of three Israeli Arabs, Islamic Movement militants, who had been recruited into Hamas’ military wing and who admitted their intention to perpetrate attacks.

The detainees are:

  • Matir Abu Haviza, from Nazareth, married to a resident of Ramla, bearer of an Israeli identity card;
  • Naaman Abu Haviza, a resident of Ramla, a religious activist in the Islamic Movement;
  • Hassan Hijazi, a resident of Lod, a religious activist in the Islamic Movement.

    Matir admitted that he had been recruited into Hamas’ military wing in March 2002 by Ahmed Wahaba, an assistant to Muhammad Deif, the head of Hamas’ military wing in the Gaza Strip. He also admitted that he had met with Deif in the Gaza Strip. In June 2002, he recruited Naaman; together, they recruited Hassan.

    Naaman admitted that he and Matir had been requested by Ahmed to help kidnap and murder an IDF soldier from a hitchhiking stop near Tzrifin.

    The cell also admitted that it had collected intelligence prior to the planned bombings of bus stops in the Rehovot and Tzrifin areas, and regarding the home of an IDF officer prior to a planned assassination attempt, and had passed the information on to their Hamas handlers.

    A search of Naaman’s home yielded chemicals used in making explosives and information on the preparation of explosives.