Yasser Arafat’s "Mukata’a" Compound in Ramallah – A Center for Controlling and Supporting Terrorism
(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)
Arafat’s compound in Ramallah houses the office of Fuad Shoubaki, the accounting administration of the Palestinian General Security Service. Shoubaki is the chief procurement and finance officer of the Palestinian Authority and was one of the key players involved in the "Karine A" arms smuggling affair.
Shoubaki’s previous office was located 100 meters south of Arafat’s office. Following the "Karine A" affair, Shoubaki was arrested and interrogated in the office of the Head of the General Intelligence Service Tiraawi, which is adjacent to Chairman Arafat’s office. This is one of the offices IDF forces entered as a part of the "Shield of Defense" operation.
Inside Tiraawi and Shoubaki’s office building, IDF forces found a large amount of weapons, including RPG launchers, which the PA is forbidden to possess according to its agreements with Israel. IDF forces also found counterfeit money as well as documents belonging to Fuad Shoubaki. These prove that Shoubaki continued to operate "business as usual" in the Mukata’a compound, even after his involvement in the "Karine A" affair was discovered.
Shoubaki is close to Chairman Arafat and often accompanies him as a part of official Palestinian delegations to Arab countries. He also holds private meetings in countries willing to support the Palestinian terrorist efforts, such as Iraq, which he visited in November 2001.
Fuad Shoubaki is also in charge of financing the Fatah branches, which carry out terrorist activities under a cover name – "the Al-Aksa Brigades". Evidence found by IDF forces in the course of the present operation in Ramallah established a clear linkage between Shoubaki and the Al-Aksa Brigades.
Original documents seized by the IDF in the Mukata’a compound reveal that the Al-Aksa Brigades is an established organization, which holds official correspondence with Fuad Shoubaki’s office in order for it to finance its planned operations. This money does not go merely to finance propaganda concerning terrorists involved in attacks, but also to control the planning of future attacks. One document captured in Ramallah, for example, is a request from Al-Aksa officials, dated September 16th, asking Shoubaki for money to prepare bombs – "the costs of making one explosive charge is at least 700 NIS. Each week, we require 5 to 9 charges for cells operating in the various regions". [700 NIS = $150]
A handwritten document found in the same office, translates this request to monetary terms using a simple method of calculation: an average of 7 bombs a week = 5000 NIS a week or 20,000 NIS per month.
Shoubaki also provided ongoing funding for the activity of the Al-Aksa Brigades in the Bethlehem region, when he transferred monthly salaries to the organization’s activists in the area. Also, he was involved in purchasing weapons, which were stolen towards the end of the year 2000 from an IDF base in the area. These weapons were later used to carry out attacks against Israeli civilians in the area of Jerusalem.
Shoubaki was active in other regions as well and had been involved in smuggling arms from Jordan and Egypt (via underground tunnels).
The Al-Aksa Brigades organization carried out suicide and "Self Sacrifice" (terrorist shooting) attacks in growing numbers in the last six months: After carrying out only two attacks towards the end of 2001, the organization adopted a more aggressive and intensive modus operandi involving suicide and shooting attacks. Al-Aksa carried out 4 attacks in January 2002 (in Hadera, Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv); 6 in February (in Mehola, Army Base "80", Jerusalem, and the Maccabim checkpoint) and 9 in March (in Netanya, Ashdod, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Kfar Saba and Efrat).
The growing rate of the attacks corresponds to the plan outlined in the document of September 16, 2001 (5 days after the September 11 attack in the U.S), for the preparation of a large number of explosive charges each month, for which Shoubaki was asked to provide the money.
The "Al-Aksa Brigades" is a cover name assumed by the Fatah to avoid responsibility for its terrorist activities. The organization’s activities are directed by Marwan Barghouti (head of the Tanzim in the West Bank), who passes concrete instructions to Al-Aksa operatives. The Al-Aksa Brigades has recently been declared a terrorist organization by the U.S.
The Al-Aksa Brigades planned infrastructure involves more than just bullets and bombs. An additional letter captured in Shoubaki’s office details an ambitious plan of this terrorist organization to create a factory for the manufacturing of heavy weapons. Among other things, purchasing a lathe (costing $25,000) and other machines needed to process the metal in order manufacture weapons such as rockets and mortars. It is known that the Al-Aksa Brigades are producing rockets similar to the "Kassam" rockets made by the Hamas.
The required investment in the weapon factory is $100,000, and the ongoing expenses are measured at $15,000 per month. It is no wonder that these requests are being received by Shoubaki, the procurement and finance officer who seems to have a hand in everything.
The network established by Shoubaki includes Iran and Iraq on the one hand (countries which are a part of the "Axis of Evil") and branches of the Fatah hiding behind the name "Al Aksa Brigades" on the other. Shoubaki, which is believed is still hiding in the Mukata’a compound, has a lot of time on his hands today to report to Arafat everything that he did not get a chance to – if he didn’t get a chance to – report in the past.
Regarding the structure of the Palestinian Authority, the head of the Palestinian Authority is Yasser Arafat. General, Abdul Razik al-Majaida is the head of the General Security and Fuad Shoubaki who is head of the finance apparatus is subordinate to al-Majaida, but it practice operates adjacent to Arafat.
The Aksa Brigades are Fatah’s "military" wing in the West Bank. In this capacity, the brigades carried out thousands of terrorist attack using different scenarios (shootings, bombs, suicide) in the Gaza Strip the West Bank and Israel. The central guidance for the brigades is provided by Marwan Barghouti, head of the Fatah’s supreme council in the West Bank, who is operating under the authority of Arafat. Barghouti directs the brigades by using the media to instill a fighting spirit in the Palestinian people, and also passing concrete directives to operatives. Simultaneously, the Palestinian security apparatus influences the brigades and their involvement in terrorist activities.
Fuad Shoubaki – Background
1. Amid (Brig. Gen.) Fuad Hindi Hijazi Shoubaki ("Abu Hazm") is head of the accounting administration of the General Security Service and confidant of Arafat. In the course of the present conflict, Shoubaki functioned as Arafat’s main instrument for purchasing weapons and carrying out terrorism against Israel –
A. Funded and organized the operation to smuggle arms on board the "Karine A" ship (captured by Israeli force in January 2002), which contained dozens of tons of quality weapons, including anti-tank, anti-aircraft and artillery weapons, transferred from Iran to the PA. In addition, Shoubaki has also been involved in smaller scale smuggling of arms from Jordan and Egypt (via tunnels).
B. Financed the operation of the Al-Aksa Brigades, the Fatah’s terrorist branch, at least in the region of Bethlehem. In this capacity, he provided terrorists with monthly salaries and was involved in purchasing weapons stolen from the IDF in October 2000.
C. Communicated with Iraq regarding the purchase of Iraqi oil for the PA and receiving weapons from Iraq.
2. His relations with Arafat – Shoubaki is in charge of budgets provided by Arafat to the Palestinian security apparatus, and his office is in the Mukata’a complex in Ramallah, close by to Arafat’s own office. In the course of the present conflict Shoubaki went abroad as a member of Arafat’s delegation in order to avoid being questioned or arrested by Israel. Even after Shoubaki’s arrest and the promises made by the PA to try him, Arafat refrained from putting Shoubaki on trial. Today Shoubaki is staying at Arafat’s besieged office in Ramallah.