(Communicated by Israeli security sources)

On March 21, 2006, an indictment was served to the military court in Samaria against Azam Abu Al’aads and Ba’lal Hafnaui, both residents of Nablus, born in 1986.The two are charged with conspiring to intentionally cause death, active membership in the Al-Qaeda terror organization, illegal assembly and additional charges.

The main charges are as follows:

The two men were active members of the Al-Qaeda terror organization, created an Al-Qaeda cell in the Nablus area and had planned to carry out a large scale terror attack in the French Hill neighborhood in Jerusalem.

In 2005 the two were recruited to Al-Qaeda in Jordan, where they received instructions from Al-Qaeda members to create an Al-Qaeda infrastructure in Judea and Samaria, with the intent of carrying out large scale attacks inside Israel. Abu Al’aads and Hafnaui agreed and began to build the infrastructure in the area of Nablus, recruiting members and beginning to plan attacks.

The infrastructure was in close contact via the internet with Al-Qaeda members in Jordan who issued them orders and also transferred large sums of money to the Nablus based cell.

Prior to their arrest, the cell members had recruited potential suicide bombers to carry out the terror attack involving a suicide bomber who was to explode in a pizza parlor in the French Hill neighborhood, and a car bomb to be detonated near the crowd and rescue teams expected to assemble at the site of the suicide bombing.

The two men were arrested by security forces on December 10, 2005 at the Allenby Bridge crossing between Jordan and Israel, thwarting the planned attack. 

Hafnaui had been a member of the Hamas terror organization between 2002-2003 and a member of the Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigades terror organization between 2004-2005. He is also charged with use/possession of weaponry (explosive belts, pipe bombs, various assault rifles and ammunition), manufacturing explosives and explosive devices and aiding wanted terrorists.   

Abu Al’aads was recruited to the Al-Qaeda terror organization in May 2005. He is also charged with possession of weaponry (pipe bombs and an assault rifle) and participating in paramilitary training.