Jerusalem, 3 April 2003

ISA-Israel Police uncover Israeli Arab Islamic Jihad cell
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

A three-member cell of Israeli Arabs from Kafr Manda, who intended to perpetrate terrorist acts in northern Israel on behalf of Islamic Jihad, was recently uncovered after an expedited ISA-Israel Police investigation that was carried out in the past few weeks; Mahmoud Abdel Khalim, Ibrahim Abdel Khamid, and Muhammad Abdel Khamid were arrested on March 17, 2003.

The three men have confessed to establishing their cell in early March 2003, with Khalim taking the initiative. Khalim’s first contacts with Islamic Jihad terrorists took place last November while he was participating in an organized Israeli Arab pilgrimage to Mecca. It should be pointed out that terrorist organizations exploit the departure of Israeli Arabs to Mecca in fulfillment of religious precepts in order to recruit them for acts of terrorism against Israel.

While in Mecca, Khalim met an Islamic Jihad terrorist from the Gaza Strip. When Khalim returned to Israel, Islamic Jihad terrorists contacted him and asked him to establish a terrorist cell in order to perpetrate attacks. Khalim recruited Ibrahim Abdel Khamid and Muhammad Abdel Khamid, who agreed to work with him. The three planned to plant a bomb in a crowded place in the Haifa area and obtain weapons from Negev Bedouins.