ISA AND IDF FOIL BETHLEHEM TERRORIST CELL'S PLANS TO ATTACK JERUSALEM
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Office)
20 February 2006
During February 2006, the ISA and the IDF uncovered a Tanzim military
infrastructure in the Bethlehem area, which was instructed by Popular
Resistance Committees terrorists from the Gaza Strip, and was involved in
shooting attacks in the Bethlehem district and the adjacent Jewish
neighborhoods of Jerusalem (Gilo and Har Homa). An attempted mortar attack,
which was due to be carried out the day after the arrests, was among the
Several members of the infrastructure, some of whom were detained recently,
were fugitives who operated out of Palestinian Authority (PA) buildings in
Bethlehem where they were protected from possible arrest.
The infrastructure was led by Jabr Fouaz Eid Akhras, a member of the PA
National Security Service, originally from the Gaza Strip but who currently
resides in Bethlehem. He was behind the 18.11.03 deaths of Sgt.-Maj. Shlomi
Belsky ( http://tinyurl.com/j3m5f ) and St.-Sgt. Shaul Lahav
( http://tinyurl.com/l3al9 ) at the tunnels checkpoint near Bethlehem. From
his room in the Mukata, Jabr commanded the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in
Bethlehem and systematically directed attacks despite the fact that Israel
had repeatedly requested that Palestinian security service heads halt his
activities and despite Palestinian claims that he was in prison.
The infrastructure members who were arrested had considerable war materiel
in their possession, including: Eight IDF mortar rounds, a mortar, a machine
gun, flak jackets and helmets.
The arrested infrastructure members admitted that they intended to
perpetrate mortar and small arms attacks on Gilo and Har Homa, with the
attack on Gilo due to be carried out a day or two after the arrests. They
also admitted to planning mortar and small arms attacks on an IDF base in
the Bethlehem area and on an IDF patrol in El Khader.
The arrested infrastructure members said that Popular Resistance Committees
terrorists from the Gaza Strip were instructing, and providing professional
and financial assistance to, members of the infrastructure in Bethlehem and
were, in effect, moving the center of their activities from the Gaza Strip
to the Bethlehem area following the IDF departure from Gaza.