A vast terror infrastructure operates out of the Palestinian Authority controlled city of Tulkarem. This infrastructure has been responsible for a vast array of terror attacks, including suicide bombings. Since the outbreak of the latest wave of ongoing Palestinian violence in September 2000, this terror infrastructure has grown to dramatic proportions. It would be more correct to say that Tulkarem houses several infrastructures with many terrorist cells. These have been successful in carrying out attacks both in the Tulkarem area and against Israeli population centers. In general, with the passage of time, the members of these terrorist cells become all the more experienced in carrying out ever more destructive attacks. This increasingly bolsters the threat Tulkarem poses against the Israeli towns and villages in the area around the city and beyond.
The “El Aqsa Brigades,” the military wing of the Fatah organization, has carried out the majority of the attacks emanating from this area. This infrastructure operates under the direct tutelage of Marwan Bargouti, who heads the Fatah’s Supreme Council in Judea and Samaria. Bargouti was in direct command of Ra’ad Karami, commander of the “El Aqsa Brigades,” until his death (14 January 2002), as well as a number of cells under his command. The Fatah infrastructure carried out a number of varied attacks, including shooting attacks in the Tulkarem area (eg. Bat Hefer, Tulkarem DCO), on roads and IDF positions (totaling 12 killed). As well, the Fatah cells have recently been carrying out high profile attacks against Israeli civilian targets, such as the 29 October planting of a bomb in the Ra’anana home of an Israeli military officer and a 17 January 2002 suicide attack in Hadera.
The Hamas organization in Tulkarem is responsible for three suicide attacks on 4 March & 18 May 2001, as well as a 27 March 2002 attack that killed 3 Israelis. The Hamas infrastructure is commanded by Omar Sayd and includes a number of terrorist cells, including cooperation with the Hamas infrastructure in Nablus. It should be noted that the Hamas terrorists have not been arrested by the Palestinian Authority.
The Islamic Jihad infrastructure in Tulkarem has carried out a number of attacks against Israeli targets. The Tulkarem organization, the second largest in all of Samaria, has recently sought to carry out a wide array of suicide attacks.
Other Major Terrorist Attacks in 2001:
4 March: Suicide attack in Netanya kills 3.
13 June: Shooting attack on Moshav Nitzanei Oz wounds an Israeli civilian.
14 July: Shooting attack kills an Israeli civilian in Baka el-Sharkia.
16 July: Shooting attack on civilian vehicle in Baka el-Sharkia wounds two civilians.
26 August: Israeli vehicle fired upon near Kibbutz Magal, killing an Israeli civilian.
29 August: Shooting attack at an Israeli vehicle near Kochin, killing an Israeli civilian.
9 September: Car bomb explodes at Beit Lid, carried out by the Islamic Jihad movement in Tulkarem.
5 October: Civilian vehicle fired upon at Avnei Hefetz, killing the Israeli driver.
20 October: Shooting attack on a patrol near Nur A-Shams wounds an IDF soldier.
Palestinian Authority Actions in Tulkarem
Since the outbreak of the latest wave of ongoing Palestinian violence against Israel in September 2000, virtually all preventative actions taken by the Palestinian Authority in Tulkarem have stopped. The Palestinian security forces in the city have deceased from making any arrests and often times have tacitly allowed attacks to take place. This policy has allowed the terrorist infrastructure in Tulkarem to operate virtually unimpeded, continually honing its ability to strike Israeli civilian targets. The Palestinian Authority Governor of Tulkarem, Az Adin Jaradah, has been outspoken in his inflammatory exhortations to the local populace of the city, calling on them to continue to resort to violence as a viable option.