All members of the Hamas terrorist cell from the Hebron area responsible for murdering six Israelis in 2005 were arrested in January 2006. The cell members turned in their weapons – an AK-47 and two Karl Gustav rifles. They admitted to planning additional shooting attacks and to planning to manufacture explosives.

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Office)

Shakiv Baher Shakiv Avyouwi, born in 1983, a clothing salesman from Hebron, was arrested on 12 January 2006. He admitted to having established a Hamas cell along with Moussa Ibrahim Fahd Vazouz, born in 1982, who works in a Hebron stationery shop, in order to perpetrate terrorist attacks. To this end, the men bought – with their own funds – an AK-47, ammunition, and a vehicle.

In order to improve the cell’s operational capabilities, the two men decided to bring into the cell Kassam Farid Abdul-Aziz Jaber, born in 1985, from Hebron. In April 2005, the three men held a live fire training exercise. On 19 April 2005, the cell attempted to shoot at an IDF post in Hebron but Avyouwi was unable to fire the weapon and fled after being fired upon by IDF soldiers.

Jaber decided to quit the cell a short time later and was replaced by Louay Shaher Shakiv Avyouwi, Shakiv Baher’s cousin, born in 1986, from Hebron. On 24 June 2005, the cell perpetrated a shooting attack at the Bet Hagai junction, murdering two Israeli civilians – 17-year-old Avihai Levy and 16-year-old Aviad Mansour – and wounding three. On 28 June 2005, cell members shot at an IDF vehicle on Highway #35 north of Hebron, without result.

The cell then planned to shoot at Israeli soldiers in the Hebron area but cancelled its plans since it possessed only one weapon at the time. They postponed the attack until they had purchased additional weaponry.

Louay Shaher then left the cell. Muhammad Ishaq Ali Julani, born in 1982, a construction worker, and resident of Bet Kahel, was recruited to replace him. On 22 July 2005, the cell shot at an IDF post in the Hebron casbah, wounding two soldiers and killing a Palestinian youth. A short time later, the cell bought – with its own funds – an additional weapon and ammunition. On 29 July 2005, the cell shot at an IDF vehicle which had stopped to examine a trash can, which cell members had placed on the road. The soldiers returned fire and the cell members fled the scene.

On 16 October 2005, cell members shot at civilians at Gush Etzion junction, murdering three Israelis – 21-year-old Matat Adler, 15-year-old Oz Ben-Meir, and 23-year-old Kineret Mandel – and wounding three.

On 16 December 2005, cell members shot at Highway #60 in the Gush Etzion area, murdering 35-year-old Yossi Shok. Shakiv Baher telephoned Al Jazeera and Al Arabiyah and claimed credit for the murder on behalf of Hamas.