(Communicated by Israeli security sources)

A total of 405 terrorist attacks were carried out in January 2005, 116 in February and 126 in March. During these three months, the firing of mortars and rockets, as well as incidents involving small arms fire, declined sharply.

No Israelis were murdered as a result of terrorist activity in March. The number of wounded also declined sharply in the first three months of the year: 54 in January, 60 in February and 11 in March. All of February’s five fatalities and most injuries were a result of the 25 February 2005 suicide bombing in Tel Aviv.

Over the course of the months of January and February 2005, three PFLP terrorists from Bir Zeit were arrested by security forces. The three were members of a terror cell that planned to carry out a double terror attack at the Latrun Armory Museum and to carry out a shooting attack against an IDF vehicle and abduct the soldiers’ bodies. During their investigation the terrorists admitted that the objective of the terror attacks was to foil the Palestinian Authority elections.

Yusuf George Daoud Kila, 27, a PFLP terrorist from Bir Zeit, was arrested on 11 February 2005 in a joint IDF-ISA operation in the wake of the arrests of PFLP terrorists Nadel Muhammad Yusuf Abu Alma and Ubay Fahmi Basil Aboudi on 9 January and 20 January, respectively. Kila admitted that the three, under the guidance of senior PFLP terrorist Bashar Latif Aref Hanani, had planned to perpetrate a terrorist attack at the IDF Armored Corps Museum at Latrun, using two suicide terrorists and a car bomb. Kila proposed the site, based on his knowledge of the area due to his having worked adjacent to a nearby monastery in 2000-2001. Abu Alma admitted that he was to have booby-trapped a car and detonate it with Kila’s assistance and had asked Ubai to collect intelligence by spying on the location to see if IDF vehicles travel through the area at regular intervals. Hanani admitted to having been responsible for recruiting two suicide bombers and obtaining the bombs. Ubay was to have transported the would-be suicide bombers.

The cell members also admitted to planning to perpetrate a shooting attack against an IDF jeep on the Ramallah bypass road, seize the soldiers’ weapons and abduct the bodies, which were to have been hidden in abandoned buildings in Bir Zeit. They admitted that their goal was to perpetrate a major terrorist attack in order to disrupt, and possibly cause the failure of the Palestinian Authority elections.

Over the course of the month of March the ISA arrested Hamas terrorist, Ashraf Hamdi Kamal Dahiya, a resident of East Jerusalem. Information had been received regarding his involvement with the Hamas terror organization’s headquarters in Gaza which recruited and directed him. Ashraf admitted to being recruited to carry out terror attacks in Israel.

Dahiya, born in 1976, was detained for questioning by the ISA on 17 March 2005 (his father and brother, who live in Gaza, are members of Hamas). Dahiya admitted that while he visited with his family in Gaza during the 2003-2004 winter, his brother proposed that he join Hamas. After agreeing, Dahiya was taken to a Hamas safe house in Gaza where he was introduced to several senior Hamas terrorists who instructed him on how to prepare bombs and to establish a Hamas cell in Jerusalem following his return to the city. He was told to rent an apartment in Jerusalem, recruit additional terrorists and purchase a computer in order to communicate with and receive additional instructions from Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

Upon returning to Jerusalem, Dahiya approached his relative, Ahmed Said Muhammad Dahiya, and suggested that he join Hamas and serve as a suicide bomber. The latter hesitated and revealed Ashraf’s involvement with the terror organization to other family members, thus stalling his terror related activities for a long period of time.

Several months later Gaza-based Hamas terrorists reactivated their link with Ashraf Dahiya and asked him to travel to Gaza in order to undergo further training. His arrest  on 17 March 2005 cut this short; Ahmed Dahiya was also arrested.

It should be noted that the Gaza-based Hamas terrorists did not to hesitate to exploit the relative ease in which humanitarian visits to Gaza by residents of eastern Jerusalem are approved.