Use of ambulances and medical vehicles by Palestinian terrorist organizations
(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)
©2002 Reuters/Abed Omar Qusini
Palestinian ambulances used to block a street in Tulkarem (March 8, 2002)
In recent days Israeli security forces have witnessed an increasing use of ambulances and and medical vehicles by terrorist organizations. The terrorists are working on the premise that these vehicles do not undergo thorough examinations when they pass through IDF roadblocks and checkpoints.
The most prominent example of this phenomenon is the apparent use of a medical vehicle or medical accreditation to help carry out the suicide terror attack on Jaffa Road in Jerusalem on January 27. The woman suicide bomber, Wafa Idris, a resident of the Amari refugee camp near Ramallah, worked as a medical secretary for the Palestinian Red Crescent.
The investigation indicates that Idris was sent to commit this suicide attack by Mohammed Hababa, a Tanzim operative and ambulance driver for the Palestinian Red Crescent. Hababa is a resident of the Beit-Iksa village, in the Ramallah area.
Among the group that planned the attack was Munzar Noor, a resident of the town of Anabta near Tulkarm, who also works for the Red Crescent in Ramallah. Noor is currently being questioned by the Palestinian security services.
Israeli security officials do not yet have a clear picture of how Idris made her way from Ramallah to Jerusalem. However, investigators believe that Red Crescent documentation held by the suicide bomber and her accomplices, and perhaps even a Red Crescent vehicle, helped them through IDF roadblocks and eased the checks they had to undergo.
This is not the first incident in which ambulances have been used by terrorist organizations. Last October, Israeli security forces arrested Nidal Nazal, a Hamas operative from Kalkilya, brother of Natzar Nazal, one of the leaders of the Hamas in the city. Nidal Nazal worked as an ambulance driver for the Palestinian Red Crescent and there is information indicating that Nazal exploited his relatively easy movement around the West Bank towns as an ambulance driver to serve as a messenger between Hamas headquarters in the various towns.
The increasing use of medical personnel by terrorist organizations to by-pass checks at IDF blockades underscores the need to carry out thorough searches in Palestinian medical and evacuation vehicles, despite the inconveneince and hardship involved. This needs to be done to ensure that ambulances will not be used by terrorist organizations to smuggle terrorists or weapons into Israel.
||Apprehension of ambulance harboring a wanted terrorist and weapons at a checkpoint near Ramallah – Mar 27, 2002|
||The President of Magen David Adom condemns the adverse use of the Red Crescent Emblem – Mar 31, 2002|