(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)

Two members of a Jenin Islamic Jihad-Tanzim terrorist cell funded by Hizbullah involved in attempts to manufacture and launch projectiles and in carrying out attacks in the Jenin area arrested.

The terrorists, Raid Higawi and Yussef A-Aziz, operatives in the Jenin terror infrastructure involved in attempts to manufacture and launch projectiles, were arrested in June in a joint IDF and ISA activity. The investigation reveals that A-Aziz, along with additional operatives, planned to abduct and murder three Israeli civilians.

On June 20, 2005, the terrorist Raid Mahmad Saliman Higawi, 26, a resident of Jenin, was arrested and investigated by the ISA. Higawi admitted in his investigation that several months before his arrest he founded a cell combined of Islamic Jihad and Tanzim operatives, named the Ta’ar abu Al-Kamel cell.

The cell operatives, directed by Higawi, repeatedly attempted to manufacture projectiles including Qassam rockets, and carried out an experiment that failed to launch two Qassam rockets at the community of Kadim.

Higawi admitted in his investigation that Hezbollah factors funded and provided logistical aid to the cell.    
The cell operatives carried out shooting attacks on the community of Kadim, and were involved in shooting and explosive device attacks against IDF forces in the Jenin area.

On June 23, the terrorist Yussef Mahmad Yussef A-Aziz, 22, also a resident of Jenin, was arrested. A-Aziz is a Tanzim operative and a member of the Ta’ar abu Al-Kamel cell founded by Higawi.

Yussef admitted in his investigation that as part of his activity in the cell, he and a number of other operatives planned to abduct and murder three Israelis who arrived from a community in northern Israel to repair their vehicle in the garage where Yussef worked. In addition, in his investigation Yussef provided details regarding his contacts and activity in the Ta’ar abu Al-Kamel cell, including assistance he provided regarding weapons used by the cell.

Operatives in an Islamic Jihad and Jama’a Islamiya terrorist cell that was planning to abduct several IDF soldiers or an Israeli civilian from a hitchhiking stop in the Bethlehem area were arrested in June 2005.

The following members of the Islamic Jihad and Jama’a Islamiya terrorist cell were arrested in a joint ISA and IDF activity: Omar Abu Schidam, 24, from Hebron, was arrested on June 5, 2005; Mahmud Atzafra, 21, from the village of Beit Kahel, northwest of Hebron, was arrested on June 30, 2005, and Muayed Atzafra, 22, from Beit Kahel, was arrested on June 30, 2005.
 
The terrorist cell was planning to abduct several soldiers, or an Israeli civilian, from a hitchhiking stop in the area of Bethlehem. The members of the terrorist cell planned to rent a vehicle with Israeli license plates, and to carry out the abduction by spraying gas at the people they planned to abduct who were standing at the stop. The members of the cell planned to hide the abductees in an apartment in Hebron. According to the information revealed in the investigation, the abduction was to be carried out for negotiation purposes for the release of Palestinian prisoners.

The tetrrorist Raed Ali Ahmed, a wanted Palestinian, was arrested in the village of Nueima, west of Ramallah in a joint ISA and IDF activity on June 26, 2005. Raed Ahmed admitted that he had carried out the terrorist attack against a security guard in the Barkan Industrial Zone on June 21, 2005.

The terrorist Raed Jamal Mustafa Ali Ahmed, 23, from the village of Dik, southeast of Qalkilya, admitted during his questioning that on the evening of June 21, 2005, he arrived at the guard post in the Barkan Industrial Zone, and asked the guard for a glass of water. The guard gave Raed water, and then Raed left the area. Shortly before midnight, Raed returned to the guard post and asked the guard again for a glass of water. As the guard turned to bring him water, Raed struggled with the guard and shot him with a pistol that he was carrying. The guard was lightly wounded. Raed grabbed the guard’s weapon and fled the area. During his questioning, Raed handed in the weapon that he had taken from the guard during the terror attack, which he had hidden in the countryside in the Ramallah area.

Furthermore, Raed admitted that he had carried out an afternoon shooting attack on the day prior to the attack in Barkan, on June 20, 2005. Raed situated himself by the road leading from the Israeli community of Pduel to the center of Israel, near the village of A-Loven, hid among the olive trees on the roadside and waited for an Israeli vehicle to pass by. After a while, he came out of hiding, stood by the road and opened fire at an Israeli vehicle that had arrived from the direction of Peduel. The front of the vehicle was damaged as a result of the shooting, but none of the passengers were wounded.  

Three Tanzim operatives from the Balata refugee camp who were planning to carry out a suicide bombing attack inside Israel were arrested in a joint ISA and IDF activity in June 2005.

During the month of June 2005, following concrete information regarding several Tanzim operatives from the Balata refugee camp who were planning a suicide bombing attack against Israeli civilians, two operatives suspected of involvement in planning the terrorist attack were arrested and taken for questioning: Sayid A-Rahim Mahmad Abu Salim, born in 1982, from Balata refugee camp, and Ahmed Azzam Fathi Sab’a, born in 1989, from Nablus.

In his questioning, Sayid Abu Salim said that he was recruited in order to serve as a driver for a suicide bombing attack inside Israel, and that Ahmed Sab’a had recruited a suicide bomber for the attack for Tarek Atzi and Ammad Abu Mesalem. Following the investigation, Tarek Mahmud Halil Atzi was arrested on July 23, 2005, and the suicide bombing attack was thwarted.

Since February 2005, the beginning of the recent period of calm, and until today, the terrorist infrastructure in Nablus has continued to be a central threat to Israeli targets. While some portions of the terrorist infrastructure in Nablus demonstrated a commitment to the period of calm, others have continued the attempts to disturb the period of calm.

The development of the infrastructure of the terrorist organizations in Nablus includes gathering weapons and explosive materials, preparation of explosive devices, collection of intelligence information for planning terrorist attacks, studying and development of technical capabilities in projectile shooting, and attempts to send suicide bombers to carry out suicide bombing attacks inside Israel. All of these attempts were thwarted by the security forces before they were carried out.   

On June 26, 2005, the IDF and ISA uncovered a tunnel dug by an Islamic Jihad terrorist cell from Khan Yunis. The tunnel leads to the industrial zone of the community of Neve Dekalim, and was built for the smuggling of terrorists and ammunition to be used in terrorist attacks.

Taufik Bardwil, 22, an Islamic Jihad terrorist from Khan Yunis, is responsible for the digging of the tunnel. Bardwil was arrested at the Tufah crossing on June 9, 2005.

Bardwil admitted in his investigation that about two weeks before his arrest he began digging a tunnel from the Palestinian area adjacent to Neve Dekalim in order to carry out an attack in the community. Bardwil dug the tunnel with the assistance of two additional operatives, with the guidance of Ma’atez Abu-Zviah, a senior Islamic Jihad terrorist in Khan Yunis. Abu-Zviah notified Bardwil that as the tunnel is completed the Islamic Jihad will smuggle terrorist and explosive devices. Abu-Zviah also promised Bardwil that he will provide him financial aid while the tunnel was being dug.

During the two weeks prior to Bardwil’s arrest he and his assistants dug a two-meter deep and eight-meter long tunnel into the Neve Dekalim industrial zone.

It should be notified that that digging of the tunnel was close to completion; a terrorist who went through the tunnel would have reached Neve Dekalim within a matter of minutes.

In addition, Bardwil admitted in his investigation that about half a year ago, when he was recruited to the Islamic Jihad, he agreed to carry out a suicide bombing attack in the Gush Katif area, and recruited a second operative for that purpose. The two were instructed by Abu-Zviah and by his commander in the Islamic Jihad to enter the Muwassi area and find work in agriculture as a cover to their planned terrorist activity, and meanwhile to track the weak points of IDF forces in the area in order to carry out an attack in one of the Gush Katif communities. Because of the difficulty to smuggle ammunition via the Tufah crossing, it was decided that the planned attack would be a stabbing attack. Bardwil and the operative he recruited were trained for the attack and filmed their testament with Islamic Jihad and Palestinian flags in the background.

The attack was not carried out because Bardwil tried and failed several times to cross into the Muwassi.

Bardwil also admitted in his investigation that he carried out shooting attacks at IDF forces in the area of Khan Yunis, and that he assisted Hamas terrorists who planted explosive devices and launched rockets at IDF forces in Khan Yunis