Jerusalem, December 23, 2003

ISA and IDF Arrest Ramallah Area Hamas Cells
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

 ISA and IDF Arrest Ramallah Area Hamas Cells-23-Dec-2003

IDF Spokesman 

 ISA and IDF Arrest Ramallah Area Hamas Cells-23-Dec-2003

Weapons recovered in Silwad, including those taken from the three soldiers killed in Ein Yabrud on Oct 19, 2003
(Dec 23, 2003)

The ISA and the IDF have, in recent days, arrested many Hamas terrorists in the Ramallah area and in villages in the Binyamin area, on the basis of pinpoint intelligence. Following the arrests, a ramified Hamas terrorist infrastructure that was involved in perpetrating shooting and bomb attacks in the aforementioned areas in the past two years was uncovered.

Most infrastructure members are previously imprisoned Hamas members with considerable experience in secret terrorism. Their attacks were characterized by precise preparation including intelligence gathering and advance tours, vis-a-vis both civilian and military targets. The cells operated strike, warning and rescue forces (in the event of complications).

Financing for the terrorist attacks came from Hamas headquarters in Damascus. The infrastructure had tens of thousands of dollars at its disposal, which it used to acquire war materiel, vehicles, cellular telephones, etc. and to disburse to its members.

The infrastructure was operated by Hamas headquarters in Ramallah, which was mostly shut down in wide-ranging ISA and IDF operations since the beginning of December.

Three main cells have been uncovered so far:

The Kubar Cell

Members:

  • Omar Salah Bargouti – 50, resident of Kubar, previously imprisoned for Hamas activities. Appointed to command infrastructure and acquired war materiel for the cells.
  • Ghassar Ismail Barghouti – 30, resident of Kubar, previously imprisoned for Hamas activities. Acted as liaison between the cell and Hamas command in Ramallah.
  • Ziad Nasser Al-Sus – 37, resident of Abu Shidam, previously imprisoned for Hamas activities.
  • Murad Walid Barghouti – 30, resident of Kubar, recruited by Ghassar and recruited others, including Hashem Hajaz, commander of Silwad and Mizra’a Sharkiya cells.
  • Yunis Ali Muhammad Masaid – 28, resident of Kafr Akab, originally from Tubas, former member of Palestinian Military Intelligence.
  • Khaldon Ruhi Atspor Barghouti – 30, resident of Kubar, originally from Syria, served as liaison with HQ abroad and transferred large sums of money from the HQ.

Prominent Attacks:

2.11.2001 – Shooting attack at IDF roadblock near Dura al Kara in which St.-Sgt. Raz Mintz was killed.

February 2002 – Two failed attempts to bomb IDF Sudra checkpoint.

15.2.2002 – Shooting attack at IDF force at Surda checkpoint in which St.-Sgt. Lee Nahman Akunis was killed. Ziad al-Sus fired an AK-47 during the attack.

The Silwad Cell

Members:

  • Ahmed Mustafa Najar – 27, resident of Silwad, holds US passport, recruited in prison by Hashem Hajaz.
  • Khaled Ma’az Omar – 28, resident of Silwad, previously imprisoned for Hamas activities.
  • Muayer Shukri Hamed – 27, resident of Silwad, previously imprisoned for Hamas activities.
  • Ahmed Khaled Hamed – 28, resident of Silwad.
  • Ferah Ahmed Hamed – 27, resident of Silwad.

Prominent Attacks:

September 2000 – Shooting attack at military vehicle near Baal Hatzor.

18.11.2002 – Shooting attack at Israeli vehicle in which Esther Galia was murdered.

27.12.2002 – Shooting attack at Israeli bus near Baal Hatzor.

29.1.2003 – Shooting attack at Israeli vehicle near Ofra in which two civilians were wounded.

20.6.2003 – Shooting attack at Israeli vehicle near Ofra in which Zvi Goldstein was murdered.

29.8.2003 – Shooting attack at Israeli vehicle near entrance to Kafr Mayer in which Shalom Har-Melekh was murdered.

The Mizra’a Sharkiya cell

Members:

  • Hasham Khader Hajaz – 28, resident of Mizra’a Sharkiya, previously imprisoned for Hamas activities.
  • Nimr Raki Zeben – 26, resident of Mizra’a Sharkiya, previously imprisoned for Hamas activities.
  • Raviyah Hadar Mahmed Hamida – 26, resident of Mizra’a Sharkiya, previously imprisoned for Hamas activities.
  • Mahmoud Gatsuv Sa’ad – 19, resident of Mizra’a Sharkiya.
  • Majdi Mahmed Nousan – 27, resident of Kafr Mayer.
  • Hayatam Sif Raduon – 26, resident of Luban Garbiyah.

Prominent attacks:

September 2002 – Shooting attack on military vehicle near Baal Hatzor.

April 2003 – Murder of Hikhmat Yassin, resident of Mizra’a Sharkiya, suspected of collaboration. Yassin had no connection to the ISA or any other security body.

5.5.2003 – Shooting attack at Israeli vehicle near Kafr Mayer in which Gideon Lichterman was murdered, and his daughter and a soldier were injured.

6.10.2003 – Detonation of explosive next to IDF patrol near Kafr Mayer in which one soldier was injured.

19.10.2003 – Ein Yabrud terror attack. The cell gathered intelligence over a period of several days and included details of soldiers’ travel routes and times of patrols. At approximately 19:00 the terrorists opened fire at a distance of 3 meters from the IDF force. The terrorists then determined that the soldiers (St.-Sgt. Erez Idan, Sgt. Elad Pollack, and Sgt. Roi Ya’acov Solomon were dead and stole their weapons before escaping in two cars that arrived in the area. The terrorists fled to their villages and to Ramallah.

Kidnapping Plan:

Attack was planned against an IDF patrol in the area of Route 60 near Dura El Kareh. Majdi Nousan, a rubbish truck driver, would have an accident using a truck purchased specifically for the attack. Following the accident, the vehicle would be surrounded and shots fired at the patrol.

The original plan was to take the soldiers’ bodies in the truck, however not all the bodies would fit into the vehicle. The terrorists decided they would take three of the soldiers’ bodies and decapitate the other soldiers in order to enter negotiations. In preparation for the attack, the terrorists dug holes and purchased the necessary equipment.

The members of the terror cell attempted to perpetrate the attack several times without success. Their arrest has prevented this and similar attacks from being carried out.

22.12.2003 – Due to the investigation and questioning of the members of the cell, two locations in Silwad were uncovered in which weapons had been concealed, including:

Four AK-47s, an M-16 stolen from the soldiers murdered in the Ein Yabrud terror attack, a long M-16, two pistols, a Baretta sub-machine gun, 15 magazines for M-16’s and AK-47’s, thousands of 5.56mm and 7.62mm bullets, binoculars, rubber gloves and material to wrap weapons.