(Communicated by the Government Press Office)

On May 16, 2004, the ISA received a pinpoint warning according to which the Hamas military infrastructure in Nablus, led by Said Kutub, was working to perpetrate a bomb attack in Jerusalem.  From intelligence information, it arose that the planned attack was in an advanced stage and that the explosive charge had already been moved to northern Jerusalem.  The Israel Police and the IDF were immediately directed to reinforce their presence along the seam line in the northern part of the city.

At the same time, the ISA received information that Husam Nabolsi, born in 1966, a resident of the Old City of Jerusalem and holder of an Israeli ID card, was involved in the planned terror attack; he was arrested.

Husam Nabolsi admitted that he had been recruited to Hamas by Dudu Said Tabangeh, a resident of Nablus, and that he was supposed to store the explosive in Jerusalem until a suicide bomber from Nablus, who was supposed to perpetrate the attack, came to him.

On April 18, 2004, the ISA and IDF forces in Nablus arrested Said Tabangeh.  He said that he had – at the behest of Said Kutub – recruited his Jerusalem cousin, Husam Nabolsi, in order to perpetrate a bomb attack in Jerusalem. He also admitted to coordinating the transfer of the explosive from Nablus to Jerusalem.  He indicated several Nablus residents who were active in assisting Hamas terrorists; these Nablus residents were also detained. Among them were Fatah terrorist Mataz Turiaki and Said Hadad, a resident of eastern Jerusalem – and holder of an Israeli ID card – who resided in Nablus.

On May 22, 2004, two additional residents of Nablus – Amin Surkagi and Alla Maruf, who have recently been living and working in A-Ram, north of Jerusalem – were arrested.  The two admitted that on May 16, 2004, Said Kutub had given them, in Nablus, a large explosive charge hidden in a false bottom of their vegetable cart.  A suicide terrorist was supposed to detonate the bomb in a crowded place in Jerusalem or by cellular phone in the event of discovery.  They two transferred the cart from Nablus to A-Ram, bypassing IDF checkpoints and using unwitting transport vehicles in the process.  Upon arriving in A-Ram, they contacted Husam Nabolsi in order to pass the explosive on to him but were unable to do so due to the bolstered IDF and Israel Police presence in the area.  They hid the bomb in an A-Ram apartment in which one of them lived.  When they understood that they could not pass the bomb on to a Jerusalem area terrorist, Surkagi returned to Nablus on May 17, 2004 in order to meet with Kutub.  Kutub gave him the name of a Nablus suicide terrorist and directed him to bring him to Jerusalem and perpetrate the attack; however, the suicide terrorist was unable to leave Nablus. Surkagi and Maruf then hid the bomb near the Beit Hanina neighborhood in northern Jerusalem.

Surkagi and Maruf led their investigators to the bomb, an explosive belt laden with an approximately 15-kilogram bomb.  The belt was disposed of in a controlled explosion.

Said Kutub was killed yesterday (Sunday), May 23, 2004, in Nablus, along with two cohorts, in an explosion the circumstances of which are as yet unclear.

Terrorists in Samaria have recently begun to transfer the focus of their activities south toward Jerusalem and Judea as a result of the completion of the security fence in Samaria and their concomitant inability to perpetrate attacks inside Israel from there.