Arrests in the Ein Beit Ilmeh refugee camp in Nablus revealed the location of an explosives belt in Tel Aviv prepared for a suicide attack.
(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)
Prior to the start of the Yom Kippur fast, IDF forces completed an operation against the extensive terror infrastructure in the Ein Beit Ilmeh refugee camp in Nablus. The purpose of the operation was to prevent the execution of terror attacks into the Israeli homefront. The operation began following the receipt of information about the intention of Palestinian terrorist organizations to execute murderous attacks. Nablus is the terror capital of the West Bank. In 2007, 10 bomb making laboratories were found in the area. In 2006, 117 of the 187 potential suicide bombers arrested in Judea and Samaria were from the Nablus area.
An IDF soldier, Staff Sergeant Ben-Zion Haneman, was killed, and another soldier was lightly injured during the operation. In a number of incidents, Palestinians opened fire and detonated explosives at IDF soldiers. IDF forces killed two Palestinian gunmen, among them the gunman who was responsible for the killing of Staff Sergeant Haneman.
IDF searches uncovered weapons caches in civilian homes containing hand grenades, assault rifles, means for making explosives, mechanisms used for explosives, army equipment and additional ammunition. IDF sappers detonated the weaponry and explosives material in a controlled fashion.
49 wanted Palestinians, among them Hamas and PFLP terrorists, were arrested during the operation and taken for questioning by security forces. Among those arrested was Nihad Rashid Hasan Shakirat, a senior wanted terrorist, head of the Hamas terror organization in the Ein Beit Ilmeh refugee camp. Shakirat, 34, was hiding inside a civilian home at the time of his arrest until the residents of the house, concerned by the presence on behalf of the IDF, forced Shakirat to exit the building.
Shakirat, 23, revealed during questioning that he had given an explosive suicide belt to Mahed Ashur, a resident of Nablus who worked in Tel Aviv. Yesterday, IDF forces arrested Ashur who directed the forces to a weapons cache, which contained bomb making materials. During his questioning Ashur admitted to receiving a suicide belt from Shakirat which he transferred to Tel Aviv in order to execute a suicide bombing against Israeli civilians. The belt was later found by Border Police sappers in a civilian home in southern Tel Aviv and detonated in a controlled fashion.
During a search in a civilian home, the forces came upon a pregnant Palestinian woman sitting on a bed. The woman refused to get up, claimed that there was nothing unusual in her home and that she did not feel well. The forces continued the search and uncovered a weapons cache under her bed.
The forces also arrested the senior wanted Palestinian militant Ahmed Yusuf Iah Aa-Az, 36, one of the senior leaders of the Hamas terror organization in the Ein Beit Ilmeh refugee camp.
In a different incident, the forces arrested a Hamas terror operative, who was dressed at the time as a woman in order to disguise himself while the IDF forces searched for him.
IDF forces also arrested Haled Nuri, Yusuf Nadi and Mustafa Nuri, members of the Hamas terror organization who admitted during their investigation that they intended to execute terrorist attacks. Mustafa Nuri also admitted his intention to commit a suicide bombing. Their terrorist cell acquired weaponry for the execution of the attacks from the leaders of the Hamas infrastructure in the Nablus region. Hamis Walid Hamis Mari, 28, a senior PFLP operative was also arrested as part of the activity.