(Communicated by Israel security sources)
An attempt by the Hamas terrorist network in the Jenin area to fire Qassam rockets at Israeli communities along the security fence was thwarted.

The Hamas terrorist network based in the Jenin area was disabled in a joint IDF and ISA (Israeli Security Agency) operation. The network’s purpose had been to set up and maintain a weapons laboratory, used to manufacture Qassam rockets and mortar shells. The senior Hamas terrorist Yihye Said Mousa Zayoud, a resident of the village of Silat al-Hartiya north of Jenin, was the head of the network.

On January 25, 2005 eleven of the Hamas terrorist network members were arrested in Silat al-Hartiya and another member was arrested in al-Yamun. Two additional members were arrested later on, one a resident of Silat al-Hartiya and the other of al-Yamun. All those arrested have been identified as key terrorist figures suspected of Hamas-related terrorist activity, including the building and maintaining of a weapons laboratory also designed to manufacture Qassam rockets.

Information from the investigation:

From the investigation of the Hamas terrorists, it has been established that this widespread terrorist activity was financed and directed by the Hamas terrorist network abroad, as was the laboratory designed to manufacture Qassam rockets, explosive devices and other types of weapons.

According to the information revealed in the investigation, in the past few months the terrorist network had been amassing raw materials for the manufacturing of the rockets. The materials that were gathered by the terrorists included: mercury, glycerin, nitrate and various acids. In addition, the terrorist network had purchased the tools necessary for the manufacturing of explosives.

As part of the investigation, weapons were handed over to Israeli forces at the home of Khaled Zayoud, a senior Hamas terrorist who lives in Silat al-Hartiya. Also found in his home were numerous instructive materials on the subject of weapons and Qassam rocket manufacturing. In addition they uncovered several weapon caches containing M-16A assault rifles, AK-47 assault rifles and a large number of bullets.

The raw materials and tools for manufacturing the explosives and rockets were stored inside a welding shop, owned by Asam Shafik Abed al-Khader Samar, a blacksmith and resident of al-Yamun who was arrested later on. The investigation revealed that Asam worked as the weapons manufacturer of this terrorist cell and was responsible for manufacturing explosives, Qassam rockets and powerful explosive devices. Moreover, the investigation revealed that Asam had manufactured at least three Qassam rockets, two of which were used in trial launches in his own area of residence.

Last night (March 2, 2005), Asam Samar exposed a weapons cache inside his workshop. In questioning Asam admitted that the cache contained:

– a Qassam rocket ready for launching
– a briefcase, which according to Atzam contained an explosive device
– three pipe bombs
– several gallons of chemical substances, fertilizer jars, tubes and small bottles, all used for manufacturing explosives.

The investigation of the terrorist network reveals that this was an operation carried out with an unusually high level of secrecy, in that it involved only a selective number of terrorists from the network, with centralized management by Yihye Zayoud.

Based on the information gleaned from the investigation, an attempt by the Hamas terrorist network in the Jenin area to fire Qassam rockets at Israeli communities along the security fence was thwarted.