27 August 2002

Two senior Hamas operatives arrested
(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)

Yesterday (Aug 26, 2002), in a joint operation by the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) and the IDF, two senior Hamas operatives were arrested:

  • Jemal A-Salam Asuad Al-Heija, 43, a resident of the Jenin refugee camp, who served as the head of the Hamas terror organization in Jenin.
  • Aslam Salah Mahmad Jerar, 29, resident of Jenin, a Hamas operative, who served as Al-Heija’s principal assistant.

    The arrested men were preparing and planning to carry out several terror attacks within the State of Israel, as well as in Samaria. They operated as a team, instigating and executing a number of major terror attacks, in which dozens of innocent Israeli citizens were killed and hundreds wounded – both within the Green Line and in Samaria.

    The following are some of the attacks in which they were involved:

    • Aug 4, 2002: Terror attack at the Meron Junction bus stop, in which nine Israeli citizens were killed and dozens wounded.
    • March 31, 2002: Suicide terror attack at the Matza restaurant in Haifa, were 15 Israeli citizens were killed and over 30 wounded.
    • Aug 9, 2001: Recruiting and providing logistical support for the suicide terrorist to carry out the murderous attack in the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem, in which 15 Israeli citizens were killed and over 100 wounded.
    • Dec 2, 2001: Suicide bombing on a bus in Haifa, in which 15 people were killed and 40 wounded.
    • Sept 9, 2001: Suicide bombing in Nahariya, in which three people were killed and some 90 wounded.
    • Jan 1, 2001: Suicide bombing in Netanya, in which 60 people were wounded.
    • Nov 22, 2000: Car bomb in Hadera in which two people were killed and 60 wounded.

    Al-Heija represented the central authority in the Jenin area for Hamas operatives in Samaria and its outskirts. He was responsible for the official political and militant activity in that sector. He maintained very close relationships with senior Hamas officials in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and provided support for its various infrastructures. In addition, Al-Heija collected and dealt with considerable sums of money, funneling them toward supporting the organization’s activities, mainly funding Hamas operatives and their handlers.

    Operation Defensive Shield and the arrest of Palestinian terrorists by the IDF has managed to significantly restrict Hamas activity in the Jenin sector. After the operation, Al-Heija worked to rebuild the terror infrastructure, reinforcing its operational capabilities. He also founded a reconstituted terror network, staffed largely by new recruits.

    Al-Heija was among the people considered closest to Nasser Jerar, the senior Hamas operative killed about a week ago in an IDF/ISA operation in the village of Tubas.