(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Office)

The two Palestinian terrorists who murdered Cpl. Ahikam Amihai and Sgt. David Rubin on 28 December 2007, in Wadi Telem, turned themselves in to Palestinian General Intelligence in Hebron the same day in order to avoid being apprehended by Israeli security forces. The Palestinians confirmed that the two were in custody only after an inquiry from the Israel Security Agency. Similarly, the Palestinians returned the two soldiers’ weapons, as well as the terrorists’ weapons, only after a demand to this effect had been communicated by the ISA.

The two terrorists are:

Ali Hamid Dandanes (24), resident of Hebron, clerk at the Hebron Sharia court and a Fatah operative who was in contact with Palestinian General Intelligence; and

Amar Badad Khalim Taha (26), resident of Hebron, Fatah operative and a Palestinian National Security soldier.

A third terrorist, Bassel Nabil Naim Natashe (23), a resident of Hebron, was killed in the exchange of fire with Cpl. Ahikam and Sgt. Rubin.

From the Palestinians’ interrogation of the two terrorists, it arises that the attack was perpetrated after one of the terrorists identified the hikers in Wadi Telem and summoned his cohorts. The objective of this planned attack was to murder the hikers and steal their weapons.

Statements to the media by Palestinian security elements to the effect that the incident was of a criminal, not security, nature are contradicted both by information in the ISA’s possession and the confessions of the terrorists themselves. Apparently, these statements are designed to obviate the Palestinian Authority’s responsibility for the incident mainly due to the fact that the murders were perpetrated by Fatah and security apparatus activists. Since the attack, the ISA and IDF have carried out a series of steps, including – inter alia – wide-ranging arrests.