(Communicated by Israeli security sources)

In an Israeli security forces operation in Jenin today, September 13, 2004, Mahmud Abu Halifa, a senior Tanzim operative was killed.

Abu Halifa was the head of Tanzim terrorist cells in the area of Jenin and the deputy of Zakaria Zbeida, head of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the area of Jenin and the in the northern West Bank. Two of Abu Halifa’s assistants were also killed.

Abu Halifa was recently involved in the planning of several terror attacks inside Israel. He was also responsible for the attack at the Kalandia checkpoint on August 11, 2004, in which two Palestinian civilians were killed and six border police soldiers were injured.

The targeting took place following concrete intelligence information regarding the planning of a terror attack by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades infrastructure in Jenin, and the meeting of the three operatives in order to plan the attack. The operatives often met in vehicles in order to make it difficult for the security forces to arrest them.   

Mahmud Assad Rageb Abu Halifa, 25, joined the Tanzim in 2002. During 2003, Halifa was the deputy to Montsar Abu Alion, who was the head of the Tanzim terrorist cells in Jenin until his arrest in January 2004. Abu Halifa was appointed by Zakaria Zbeida to be the head of the Al-Aqsa Martyr Brigade cells within Jenin after Abu Alion was arrested.

Abu Halifa and his commander Zakaria Zbeida planned and directed the terror attack carried out at the Kalandia checkpoint on August 11, 2004. Several members of the terror cell who carried out the attack were arrested, and admitted in their investigation that Zbeida and Abu Halifa were those who transferred the explosive device and guided the cell members to sneak the explosive device into a crowded location inside Israel, with the chosen location for the attack the Talpiot market in Haifa.

Abu Halifa was responsible for the funding and direction of dozens of shooting attacks in the area of Jenin, aimed at IDF forces and Israeli communities and roads in the northern West Bank. At least two of the attacks resulted in the death of two Israeli civilians: a shooting attack carried out near the village of Yabed near Jenin on June 12, 2003, and a shooting attack in the same area on July 4, 2004. 

As part of his terrorist activity, Abu Halifa was in charge of the enlisting of dozens of operatives, the arming and dispatching of dozens of terror cells which carried out shooting and bomb attacks at IDF forces in the area of Jenin. Furthermore, Abu Halifa personally trained operatives in terror activity.

Abu Halifa was also in charge of attempts to carry out numerous suicide attacks inside Israel. At least six terrorists dispatched by Abu Halifa to carry out suicide attacks inside Israel during 2004 were stopped and arrested by the security forces, while heading to the destinations chosen for the attacks.

Operatives of the Abu Halifa’s terror cells who were apprehended admitted during questioning that during March 2004 Abu-Halifa planned an explosive truck attack, meant to explode near a school bus or a bus transferring soldiers in the northern West Bank. The attack was thwarted by the security forces.

Abu Halifa’s senior assistants killed in today’s targeting are Amjad Huseni Aaraf Ayob, 24, a senior Tanzim operative from Jenin, involved in the planning of terror attacks with Abu Halifa and his chief assistance, and Yamman Faizel Abed Al Vahab Ayob, 18, a Tanzim operative and Abu Halifa’s assistant.