March 12, 2003

Indictment on Use of Ambulances for Terrorist Activities
(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)

On March 10 2003, a hearing was held in the military court in Bet El regarding the indictment of Isalam Jibril, a Red Crescent ambulance driver, who is charged with using ambulances to transport weapons to terrorists of the Fatah Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades in Nablus and Ramallah.

Among the weapons that the accused transported were guns and explosive belts which were intended for use in terror attacks. In order to disguise the contents of the ambulance, Jibril also transported a doctor and his brother’s wife and children, and drove to a checkpoint outside Ramallah where IDF forces stopped him.

The accused pleaded guilty to the charges brought against him and was sentenced with up to four and a half years in prison and a suspended sentence.

Revolver hidden in ambulance

According to section 2-1 in the indictment: The accused was working as an ambulance driver for the Palestinian Red Crescent at the end of August 2001 when he held a number of telephone conversations with Nadal Zahar also known as "Abu-Antar," a senior terrorist in the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, the military wing of the of the Fatah-Tanzim. Abu-Antar asked the accused to transport "material" to Nablus and Ramallah. The accused immediately understood that the "material" in question was weapons designated for terrorist attacks.

After a short time, Abu-Antar visited the home of the accused in Balata and asked if he was prepared to transport guns to Ramallah. The accused agreed and a few weeks latter, in the middle of the night, Abu-Antar brought over a black sack containing a revolver. The accused was instructed to pass the revolver on to Mahmoud Yusuf Adris Al-Surqan, head of Sheikh Ziad Hospital in Ramallah and a resident of El-Bireh.

The accused was then requested by Adris to transport a letter and a large package which contained the dates and details of terror attacks carried out by members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade. The letter contained the phrase, "Send grass for the lamb." The accused testified that he immediately understood that this was a code from Adris requesting weapons or ammunition from Abu-Antar.

Explosive belt hidden in an ambulance

On March 26, 2002, the accused spoke to Abu-Antar on the phone and agreed to use his ambulance to transport an explosive belt to Ramallah. Abu-Antar arrived at the home of the accused in Balata with Muhammud Titi, another terrorist in the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade and another man who waited with a car. When the accused said he was not working that evening, Abu-Antar offered to pay him for his services.

During the night, the accused hid a package containing the explosive belt under the stairs in his living room. In the early hours of the morning, the accused opened the package and discovered that it was a bomb attached to ten plastic bottles. In order to safely transfer the explosive belt, he called his work manager and asked to transport his allegedly sick sister-in-law and her son from Nablus to the hospital in Ramallah, promising that he would reimburse any expenses when he returned.

The accused placed the explosive belt under the stretcher in the ambulance and a battery on the ambulance monitor. Afterwards he picked up Dr. Assan, a dentist who had asked to accompany the accused on his trip to Ramallah. The accused also picked up his sister-in-law and her children. Together they drove towards Ramallah in the ambulance. The accused succeeded in crossing the Hawarah checkpoint but was stopped at the IDF checkpoint next to the Rama Bridge, where the explosive belt was discovered and safely detonated by IDF forces.