(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)
 
In a joint security force operation in Nablus, tonight (May 2, 2004), the Israel Air Force targeted a car transporting senior Tanzim terrorists, who were responsible for numerous terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers.

This operation came to being as a means of last resort after attempts to thwart their activity were unsuccessful.

Background Information
(Communicated by Israeli security sources)

During the past months, Israeli security forces have been operating to thwart attempts to carry out terrorist attacks, directed by the Tanzim terrorist infrastructure in the city of Nablus. These attempts include significant involvement of women and youth, who are used by the terrorists to guide, infiltrate and carry out suicide bombing attacks.

The following are senior wanted Tanzim terrorists from Nablus, personally responsible for a long series of attempts to carry out terrorist attacks during the last months: 

Nader Mahmud Abed El-Haffez Abu Lil, 26 years old, resident of the Balata refugee camp in Nablus, was a senior Tanzim terrorist in the area of Nablus in particular and the West bank in general. Abu Lil was a Palestinian police officer who received monthly wage from the Palestinian Authority. Since mid-2002 he was involved in dispatching suicide bombing attacks into Israel and Israeli communities in the West Bank.

* During June 2003 two double suicide attacks, directed by Abu Lil were thwarted. The suicide bombers had already been recruited from the Nablus area, one of them 17 years old. The targets of the suicide bombings included the city of Netanya and the community of Itamar.

* In August 2003 Abu Lil offered Muhamed Abu Stita, a Palestinian police officer from the village of Balata and serving in Ramallah, to take part in military operations in Lebanon. Abu Lil conditioned Abu-Stita’s going to Lebanon on his murdering of a Jewish soldier.

* During September-December 2003 a series of suicide bombing attacks which were planned by Abu-Lil in Rosh-Ha’ain, Petah Tikva, Jerusalem and Kedumim were thwarted.

* In February 2004 Abu Lil recruited a Palestinian who was illegally staying in Tel Aviv. This Palestinian found a night club as a target for a terrorist attack and intended to lead a suicide bomber to the club. The suicide bombing was thwarted by security forces following the arrest of both the guide and the suicide bomber. The suicide bomber was arrested in possession of a 15 kg explosive device.

* In March 2004 a suicide bombing attack in Jerusalem was thwarted when the suicide bomber was arrested and the explosive device was destroyed.

* In March 2004 Tahani Khalil, a 25-year-old mother, resident of the Balata refugee camp, was recruited by Abu Lil to carry out a suicide bombing attack on  "Nakba" day. Her arrest thwarted the terrorist attack.

* On April 15, 2004 a female resident of Luban A-Sharkia in possession of an explosive bag activated by a cellular phone was arrested. During her investigation she noted that Abu-Lil had recruited her, equipped her with the explosive device and dispatched her to carry out the attack. Abu Lil himself was to have activated the explosive device from a distance.

Hashem Daud Ishtawi Abu Hamdan, 23 years old, resident of the Balata refugee camp in Nablus, was a journalism student in Najah University in Nablus until last year.

Abu Hamdan was a senior Tanzim terrorist in the West Bank and operated in coordination with Nader Abu Lil. Abu Hamdan was involved in directing and dispatching numerous terrorist attacks murdering and injuring many Israeli civilians:

* April 10, 2003 – an infiltration attack into an IDF base near the community of Bekaot in which two IDF soldiers were killed and eight others were injured. Abu Hamdan personally recruited the attackers.

* August 12, 2003 – a suicide bombing attack at a supermarket in Park Afek in Rosh Ha’ain, in which an Israeli civilian was murdered and nine others were injured.

* October 9, 2003 – a suicide bombing attack at an IDF checkpoint near the DCO in Tulkarm in which an IDF soldier was seriously injured.

* November 3, 2003 – an attempt to dispatch a suicide bomber into Israel; the suicide bomber encountered IDF forces in the village of Azun and exploded himself near an IDF jeep causing no injuries.

In addition Abu Hamdan was involved in the manufacturing of two car bombs intended to be used against IDF checkpoints or vehicles. The first car was destroyed by tank fire in October 2003, and the second exploded in a work accident in March 2004.

Between January and March 2004, Abu Hamdan was engaged in several suicide bombing attacks dispatched into Israel:

January 2004 – An attempt to dispatch a suicide bomber through the villages of Azun and Badie into Israel was thwarted with the arrest of the suicide bomber and his dispatchers, and the confiscation of the explosive device and its detonation.

March 2004 – Two suicide attacks directed by Abu Hamdan were thwarted with the arrest of the suicide bombers on their way to carry out the suicide attacks.

In the last months Abu Hamdan and Abu Lil were planning an additional suicide bombing attack inside Israel.

Mahmed Hassin Hamadan Abu Hamdan, 25 years old, originally from Kalkilya, a senior Tanzim terrorist operating along with Hashem Abu Hamdan and a member of his terrorist cell, was involved in several suicide bombing attacks:

April 24, 2003 – a suicide bombing attack in a train station in Kfar Sava, in which an Israeli security guard was murdered and 15 Israelis were injured.

August 12, 2003 – a suicide bombing attack at a supermarket in Park Afek in Rosh Ha’ain, in which an Israeli civilian was murdered and nine others were injured.

December 2003 – an attempt to dispatch a suicide bomber into Israel. The suicide bomber was arrested and the explosive belt was confiscated and destroyed.

Nail Ziad Hasani Hasnin, 21 years old, member of the special forces of the Palestinian police in Nablus, a Tanzim operative from the Balata refugee camp and a member of Hashem Abu Hamadan’s terrorist cell.

Hasnin was involved in several attempts in the recent months to dispatch suicide bombers along with Hashem Abu hamdan, including the attempt to dispatch Bashir Bustami, resident of Nablus, 16 years old, to carry out a suicide bombing attack in March 2004, an attack which was thwarted with the arrest of the suicide bomber. In addition, in January 2004, Hasnin directed a Tanzim cell from Jamain to carry out shooting attacks against Israeli civilians. The cell members were arrested.