(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)

In a joint IDF, ISA, and Israel Police operation last night (July 23, 2005) a Palestinian terrorist wearing an explosive belt was arrested near Kibbutz Nir-Am in the western Negev.

Security forces spotted the terrorist, Jihad Shahada, who had infiltrated the security fence surrounding the northern Gaza Strip. The 5 kg explosive belt he had been wearing was detonated by IDF sappers.

Shahada, 25, and a resident of the Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, is a member of the Shuhada al-Aksa terrorist network within the Fatah organization. An ISA investigation found that Shahada was dispatched by Salem Tabat to carry out a suicide bombing attack in a central and heavily populated area of Tel Aviv.

Sunday morning Israeli policemen arrested another Palestinian man in Jaffa. The Palestinian, aged 25 and a resident of the Gaza Strip, had apparently infiltrated Israel with Shahada and aided him in the suicide bombing attempt. The Palestinian is being questioned by security forces.

The last suicide-bombing attempt originating in the Gaza Strip occurred last month, when a young woman was caught attempting to enter Israel through the Erez security crossing wearing an explosive belt. The woman had planned to carry out a suicide attack in Israel.

A total of 92 infiltration attempts from the Gaza strip have been thwarted by security forces since the beginning of 2005. Shahada is the first Palestinian terrorist who managed to infiltrate Israel from the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the year.