(Communicated by Israeli security sources)
 
The IDF, in conjunction with the Israel Security Agency (ISA), recently shut down a Nablus-based Tanzim terrorist cell, which had been in the final stages of executing a suicide terror attack inside Israel. The cell, whose members were from the Askar and Balata refugee camps in Nablus, recruited Palestinians as young as 15 and 16 to carry out the attack. A number of the recruits were brought in under the command of Tanzim operatives directed by Hizbullah terrorists in Lebanon.

Eight Palestinian youths were among the operatives detained. Half of these were in charge of still further recruitment, while the other half had themselves been recruited to carry out suicide attacks. 

One of these, a 15-year-old resident of the Askar refugee camp, admitted that he had been recruited this past week to carry out a suicide attack inside Israel. In his investigation he admitted that in January 2005 he approached Mahmed Walid A-Fatah Nakiv, a 21-year-old Tanzim operative, and volunteered to carry out a suicide bombing attack in order to become a “martyr” like his friend Aamar Alfar, who carried out the suicide bombing attack in the Carmel Market in Novmber 2004, in which three Israelis were killed and 40 were wounded. Nakiv, also a resident of the Askar refugee camp, was involved in aiding wanted operatives in carrying out shooting attacks and weapons smuggling. 

Two other Palestinian youths arrested were also recruited as suicide bombers by the Tanzim cell. The youths, aged 15 and 16 from the Askar refugee camp, admitted that two months ago they were recruited to carry out a suicide attack targeted at an IDF officer and three IDF soldiers at an IDF security checkpoint.

During questioning, one of the two youths stated that he had already been filmed in Nablus, reading his statement of intent to carry out a suicide attack, with a picture of Halil Marshud in the background. Marshud was the former head of the Tanzim in Balata, who had dispatched suicide terror attacks and who was killed in June of 2004. The youth further stated that Aala Snahara, the head of the Tanzim in Balata, was aware he had been recruited. He went on to state that he had tried to volunteer for a suicide mission a week before being recruited, approaching Mahmed Subhi Sabah Hashash, a 17-year-old resident of Balata. His request was rejected by Balata operatives, who deemed him too young for the mission. The plan to carry out the attack against the IDF officer and soldiers was eventually cancelled because it became too well known.

Mahmed Hashash was arrested as well after a 15-year-old Palestinian youth from the Askar refugee camp stated in his questioning that Hashash, along with other youths, had attempted to recruit him to carry out a suicide bombing attack. After the minor refused, the group convinced him to carry out a terror attack at the Hawara crossing using two pipe bombs, which he would detonate against IDF forces at the crossing. On May 22, 2005, the minor was arrested at the Hawara crossing. The youth was arrested after arousing the suspicion of the IDF soldiers securing the crossing, who searched the youth and uncovered the two pipe bombs on a belt under his clothing.

The second minor admitted that two weeks prior to his arrest, he was recruited a second time by Balata operatives to carry out a suicide terror attack inside Israel. When this minor was arrested, the other youth turned himself in to IDF soldiers at the Hawara crossing, fearing that his house would be demolished.

Also arrested were 20 year-old Samir Ahmed Hassan Hashash and 17 year-old Mahmud Hamdan A-Hadi Shtivi, who were among those responsible for recruiting the youths who were to carry out suicide bomber attacks. The two are residents of the Balata refugee camp.

The discovery of this terrorist cell and its activities are additional proof of the fact that Tanzim operatives in Balata refugee camp continue to recruit suicide bombers, many of which are minors, and continue to plan terror attacks against Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers.