Jerusalem, February 2, 2004

Terrorist leader responsible for last Thursday’s Jerusalem suicide bombing killed in Bethlehem
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

During a joint IDF-ISA operation in the Aida refugee camp in the Bethlehem district today (Monday), February 2, 2004, Bethlehem area Izadin al-Kassam leader Muhammad Abu Ouda was killed. According to intelligence assessments, Abu Ouda was behind last Thursday’s suicide attack in Jerusalem, in which 11 people were murdered and over 40 were wounded (the attack itself was perpetrated by Ali Jaara, a Palestinian policeman who resided in the camp).

As his home was being searched for him, Abu Ouda opened fire at Israeli forces from a hidden compartment, wounding four soldiers. Abu Ouda was killed by return fire; an FN pistol was found in his possession.

Abu Ouda was a member of the Hamas military infrastructure led by Ali Alaan, which perpetrated many attacks, including the June 18, 2002 suicide bombing of a #32A bus in Jerusalem in which 19 people were murdered and 50 were wounded and the November 21, 2002 suicide bombing of #20 bus in Jerusalem in which 11 people were murdered and 45 were wounded.

Ali Alaan trained Abu Ouda as a senior explosives expert. Upon the March 2003 deaths of Ali Alaan and other senior cell members, Abu Ouda assumed his place and became Hamas’s senior explosives expert in the Bethlehem area. Abu Ouda recruited terrorists, including suicide terrorists, and planned additional attacks, one of which was foiled by security forces in November 2003 to coincide with the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Given his background and following the July 1, 2003 IDF withdrawal from Bethlehem, Abu Ouda’s name was passed on to the Palestinian Authority security services; these took no action whatsoever, neither against Abu Ouda nor any of the other terrorists in the Bethlehem district. In light of the foregoing and given that Ali Jara was a Palestinian Authority policeman, it is clear that the Palestinian Authority security services are doing nothing to prevent Bethlehem-based terrorism.