Jerusalem, February 5, 2004

Security forces uncover Islamic Jihad maritime unit
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

An Israel Security Agency (ISA) investigation has revealed that the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip has been working to establish a maritime arm that was to have perpetrated sea-borne terrorist attacks against Israeli targets in the Strip.

Iyad Abd Issa Alouan, 24, a resident of Khan Yunis, a fisherman by profession, was arrested by the ISA on November 10, 2003. He admitted that Islamic Jihad had recruited him in order to assist in the perpetration of a sea-borne attack against an Israeli target.

Alouan admitted that he had been recruited shortly before his arrest by Islamic Jihad terrorist Ala Hisi (a resident of the Shati refugee camp). Alouan was previously active in the Abu Rish organization and had been involved in military action against Israeli targets in the Gaza Strip.

In a meeting with a senior Islamic Jihad terrorist known as "Abu Islam", Alouan was told that the organization was interested in establishing an Islamic Jihad maritime unit in order to perpetrate attacks against Israeli targets and, to this end, intended to purchase as many lifeguard boats as it could. Alouan was asked train the would-be terrorists who would man the lifeguard boats. Abu Islam informed Alouan of his plans to perpetrate shooting and grenade attacks against an IDF patrol or unit in the Tel Ridan area via sea-borne terrorists. Alouan was asked to acquire a lifeguard boat, which could be fitted with a motor to be provided by Ala Hisi. Abu Islam remarked that the lifeguard boat should have a fishing license in order to provide a cover for its activities and guard against premature discovery. Alouan was asked to gather information on a suitable place to plan an attack and assist in training the would-be terrorists on his lifeguard boat. Abu Islam said that the attacks could be perpetrated as soon as additional lifeguard boats could be acquired and concealed.

Abu Islam told Alouan that the organization had $500,000 at its disposal. Alouan was also asked to purchase weapons from an arms dealer, rent apartments in the northern Gaza Strip for use in planning attacks, and purchase equipment for the lifeguard boat. Alouan received funds from Abu Islam and Ala Hisi and purchased a fishing net for use in concealing the lifeguard boats. He also purchased two life-vests for the would-be terrorists and other equipment. Abu Islam told Alouan that he must make all the necessary purchases since his occupation as a fisherman would provide cover. Alouan was arrested before he could purchase the lifeguard boats.

The security forces have reason to believe that Islamic Jihad will continue to develop new methods in which to perpetrate terrorist attacks in complete disregard of the possible consequences for the Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, especially the fishermen.