(Communicated by Israeli security sources)

The head of the Hamas terrorist organization in Tulkarm, Rami Abed Al Natif Mohamad Tayih, 26, was arrested last night in a joint IDF and ISA operation.

Tayih was active as a lower level operative in the Hamas terrorist organization in Tulkarm when a Hamas network carried out the Passover night suicide bombing in the Park Hotel in Netanya in 2002. Tayih was wanted since 2002, after being appointed a member of that network.

Tayih became the most wanted Hamas terrorist in Tulkarm after many of the Hamas members in his terror network were arrested during Operation Defensive Shield. Tayih, wanted by Israeli security forces, was helped by the local Palestinian population to hide. Among those who helped were many women, who were regular Hamas collaborators, helping him move around freely, disguised as a woman.

In recent years Tayih was responsible for recruiting Hamas members and for creating a large number of Hamas terrorist cells that subsequently carried out dozens of explosive device and shooting attacks and planned a suicide bombing inside Israel.

Amongst the terrorist attacks planned by Tayih:

  • The dispatching of a terrorist armed with an explosive bag to Netanya
  • A suicide bombing in a hotel in Netanya
  • The dispatching of a terrorist to Ramallah, from where he was to leave in order to carry out a second suicide bombing in the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem.
  • An attack against IDF soldiers at an IDF checkpoint near Tulkarm.

One of Tayih’s fellow Hamas cell members carried out a terrorist attack having infiltrated the community of Avnei Hefetz in March 2004, murdering one Israeli civilian and wounding his daughter.

In recent years Tayih operated in coordination with the Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and had contacts with the Hamas in Jenin, in Nablus and in the Southern West Bank.

Tayih was arrested together with his aide, Adnan Kamal Samara, 20, from Tulkarm, and with another wanted Palestinian, Islamic Jihad operative Ali Zakai Ali Abu Diyab, 33, from Tulkarm. In addition two M16 rifles, a gun and magazines were seized.