(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Office)

In a report today released for publication, it was announced that the terrorist responsible for a 2000 shooting attack on an Israeli civilian bus, in which an IDF soldier was killed and a woman was wounded, was arrested in December 2005.

A joint ISA-IDF operation on 8 December 2005 resulted in the arrest of Nadim Muhammad Fawzi Awad, a member of Palestinian General Intelligence (PGI) from the Nablus area, who confessed to having perpetrated – along with an accomplice from the Palestinian security services – the 8 December 2000 shooting attack on the Jericho bypass road in which Sgt. Tal Gordon was murdered and an Israeli woman was wounded.  Two senior Palestinian General Intelligence officers directed the attack.

Awad, born in 1974, a resident of the Nablus-area village of Salem, served in the Palestinian General Intelligence and resided in Jericho during the aforementioned terrorist attack.  Awad confessed to perpetrating the attack along with Abdul Karim Hamed Ahmed Shatiyeh, also born in 1974 and from Salem, who also served in the Palestine General Intelligence. Awad and Shatiyeh formed a terrorist cell along with Hasin Abdul Alfahat Zabeidi, born in 1966, from Luban a-Sharkiyeh, who was killed in a February 2002 exchange of fire with IDF troops in Ramallah.

Awad confessed that the cell acted under the personal command of the commander of the Palestinian General Intelligence Special Unit in Jericho, Hasin Ali Muhammad Aoush, and under the personal direction of Musa Mahmud Muhammad Fadilat, a senior PGI officer in Jericho.

On 8 December 2000, Awad and Shatiyeh, under Aoush’s direction, drove toward the Jericho bypass road in order to shoot at Israeli vehicles.  Zabeidi, Aoush and Fadilat stayed behind at a Palestinian Force 17 checkpoint and acted as lookouts.  They informed Awad and Shatiyeh by radio each time a vehicle approached. Aoush ordered them not to shoot at private cars or those vehicles with few passengers; when a No. 963 bus approached, he ordered them to open fire.  Awad and Shatiyeh each emptied an entire magazine at the bus and then fled back to the Force 17 checkpoint, from where they were taken back to Jericho.

From the investigation of Awad and other PGI operatives, it arises that many of the shooting attacks that were perpetrated in the Jericho area during the first year of the current round of Palestinian terrorism and violence were directly guided by senior Palestinian security service officers and that the terrorists themselves were also security service operatives.