Jerusalem, February 2, 2004

Security forces foil two terrorist attacks planned by Nablus Tanzim leader
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

The security forces have recently foiled two terrorist attacks directed by Nader Abu Lil, 25, a Tanzim leader from Nablus. In recent years, Abu Lil has relentlessly attempted to perpetrate numerous suicide attacks inside Israel.

1. On December 13, 2003, the IDF and ISA arrested Muhammad Abu Lil, 18, originally from the Balata refugee camp, who worked at a bakery in Ramat Gan, was in Israel illegally and who lived near the Geha interchange. Arrested with Lil was Ahmed Abu Hawila, 22, a Tanzim operative from Nablus, who was recently recruited to Force 17, the Palestinian Presidential Guard. The two were arrested on their way to perpetrate a terrorist attack at a Petah Tikva restaurant. After questioning, they surrendered a bag of explosives which was in their possession. Nader Abu Lil directed the attack and recruited Muhammad Abu Lil.

Muhammad Abu Lil and Ahmed Abu Hawila left Balata on December 12, 2003 and managed to reach Kafr Kassem. Upon reaching Kafr Kassem, Abu Lil revealed that he was carrying a bag laden with explosives. From Kafr Kassem, they tried to enter Israel. They first contacted two Jewish drivers and asked them to take them into Israel but the drivers refused. Several hours later, an Israeli Arab taxi driver agreed to take them into Israel. After ten minutes, the driver asked to see the contents of their bag. The driver refused to accept Abu Lil’s answer that there were clothes in the bag and insisted on seeing the contents. When the driver saw the contents, he turned around and took them back to Kafr Kassem. The two left the bag in Kafr Kassem and went to Azoun, where they were arrested the following day by the IDF.

Abu Lil admitted that he had intended to plant the bomb at a restaurant in Petah Tikva. Hawila claimed that when they left Nablus, he was unaware that Abu Lil intended to perpetrate a terrorist attack and merely wished to accompany him. Even though Hawila – while they were in Kafr Kassem – became aware that Abu Lil had explosives, he continued to travel with him.

The roundabout route that the two took from Nablus to Kafr Kassem (partly on foot and partly by vehicle), including five stops, indicates that they were unable to infiltrate into Israel directly from Nablus due to the terrorism prevention fence, and sought to reach Kafr Kassem because the fence is incomplete in that area.

The taxi driver showed alertness and responsibility in checking the two and returning them to Kafr Kassem; however, he did not report this to the authorities. The phenomenon of transporting Palestinians who are in Israel illegally is both serious and dangerous

. 2. The second terrorist attack planned by Nader Abu Lil was foiled on the night of February 2, 2004 during an initiated action by the security forces in the Old City of Nablus. During the activity, the forces located two large explosive devices in the casbah that were to be used in perpetrating terrorist attacks inside Israel in the coming days. (The devices were safely destroyed in a controlled detonation.) The devices’ capture capped an effort by the security forces in recent days during which two Tanzim terrorists from Nablus, who were involved in planning the attacks, were arrested. They are Ismail Jamal, 21, from the Balata refugee camp, and Amin Zamzum, 19, a resident of Askar. The former surrendered the devices and turned in the latter. Jamal’s arrest was the result of information which indicated that the Tanzim and Islamic Jihad intended to perpetrate a bomb attack inside Israel.