(Background information from Israeli security sources)
April 21, 2002
In the course of Operation Defensive Shield the direct and acute involvement of Tawfik Tirawi, head of the Palestinian General Intelligence Service in the West Bank, in orchestrating terrorist operation against Israel was revealed. Tirawi, who is a close confidant of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat and has been with him in the Mukata’a since the IDF entered Ramallah, emerged as being directly involved in organizing attacks, providing financial aid to operatives involved in terrorist attacks and preparing them to carry out the attacks.
Tirawi’s men are also directly involved in terrorism and continue in the spirit of their commander. Thus, for example, on April 16, 2002 two explosive belts, one of them ready for use, were found in the home of Muhammad A’arj, a member of the General Intelligence Service and a resident of Kalandia refugee camp. Two suicide letters, battle vests, ammunition and red berets were also found.
During the operation, many wanted men were arrested who describe when questioned the direct involvement of Tirawi and his men in recruiting terrorists, preparing them and supplying them with ammunition for their missions. For example, Sharif Naji, one of the leaders of the Tanzim infrastructure in Ramallah, admitted when questioned that Tirawi had encouraged him to continue to carry out attacks and even provided him with ammunition for this purpose. Abd al Karim Aweis, a senior member of Fatah in Samaria who surrendered to the IDF, stated during questioning that a few days before his arrest Tirawi had shown him a list of names of young people who had been recruited to carry out suicide attacks and whom Israel asked to arrest.
The involvement of Tirawi’s West Bank General Intelligence Service in terrorist attacks has also been evidenced by documents seized during the operation. Among other things, it has emerged that the General Intelligence Service had prior information about the cell which, in the course of its activities, carried out the assassination of the late Minister Ze’evy, and did nothing to prevent it. (Doc.#1)
A further document (Doc.#2) indicates that Tirawi and Amin Al Hindi, the overall commander of the General Intelligence Service, together coordinated the assassination of Palestinians accused of ‘collaborating’ with Israel. It is also clear from these documents (Doc.#3) that Tirawi was kept up to date about the intention of Tanzim operatives to carry out an attack in Israel.
Furthermore, Tirawi had full knowledge of Palestinian terrorist infratructure in general. For example, he was informed by his operatives in Tulkarm about the extent and operations of the terrorist organization in the city (Doc.#4).
In addition, Tirawi’s involvement is seen in appeals to Arafat to employ terrorists who have carried out attacks against Israel in the security force under his leadership (Doc.#5).
Yet another document reveals that Tirawi was prepared to help smuggle the brother of Wafa Idris, who carried out a suicide attack in Jerusalem, into Jordan because he was wanted in connection with attacks he had carried out himself. (Doc.#6)
Still another document shows that Tirawi was updated about the cooperation between members of his security forces with Islamic Jihad and Hamas, (Doc.#7) and of Islamic Jihad intentions to commit a suicide attack in Israel (Doc.#8).
These details clearly indicate the involvement of Tirawi and his men in the General Intelligence Service in organizing terrorist activities, notwithstanding the fact that his force is intended in the framework of the Israeli-Palestinian agreements to thwart terrorist activities emanating from the PA and to prevent them.
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