FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 18, 2003
Contact: 972(8) 973-3336
SHURAT HADIN WARNS US ATTORNEY GENERAL THAT PALESTINIAN COMMANDER
INVESTIGATING GAZA BOMBING WAS ITS LIKELY PERPETRATOR
Shurat HaDin - Israel Law Center Director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner has
written to United States Attorney General John Ashcroft alerting him to the
fact the Palestinian Security Service commander assigned to investigate the
October bombing attack on American personnel in Gaza was very likely the
terrorist who planned it.
Gaza Commander Col. Rashid Abu Shabak's has been entrusted by the
Palestinian Authority (PA) and the United States Federal Bureau of
Investigation with hunting down the terrorist cell responsible for the
October 15, 2003 bombing which left three Americans dead.
The three Americans, John Branchizio, 37, of Texas, John Linde Jr., 30, of
Missouri, and Mark Parsons, 31, of New Jersey, were security personnel
guarding a convoy of diplomatic vehicles which was attacked by Palestinian
Arab terrorists who detonated a powerful roadside bomb at the Beit Hanoun
junction in Gaza. The Americans were visiting Gaza to interview candidates
for Fulbright scholarships.
Darshan-Leitner's letter accuses the Palestinian commander of being the
mastermind behind numerous terror attacks perpetrated by Yasser Arafat's
Fatah organization in Gaza. Shurat HaDin urges the Department of Justice to
investigate Abu Shabak's involvement in prior roadside bombings.
Not surprisingly, there have been no arrests made by the Palestinians in the
According to the Shurat HaDin letter, Abu Shabak, a protege of Palestinian
leader Mohammed Dahlan, has an extensive terrorist past. Abu Shabak, along
with Dahlan are the leading suspects in several other Gaza terror attacks:
* On April 1, 1997, Abu Shabak is alleged by Israeli intelligence agencies
to have sent Palestinian suicide bombers to target two school buses outside
Netzarim and Kfar Darom in Gaza. Then, Chief of Staff Amnon Lipkin-Shahak
identified the terrorists as police officers under Dahlan and Abu Shabak's
* On October 18, 2000, a busload of 40 Israeli women and children was
attacked by gunfire and bombs near the Gush Katif junction in Gaza as it
passed by a Palestinian police station. Israel Radio reported that Israeli
intelligence has concluded that Dahlan and Abu Shabak were behind the
* On November 20, 2000, Dahlan and Abu Shabak ordered the roadside bombing
of a school bus outside the Kfar Darom community. Two adultson the bus were
killed, and nine other Israelis were injured, including five children.
Several of the injured are American citizens. Israeli security services
have identified Dahlan and Abu Shabak as the main suspects in the attack.
Shurat HaDin has brought several civil actions against Dahlan and Abu Shabak
on behalf of Israeli terror victims alleging that the pair have organized a
network of terrorists which perpetrate attacks in the Gaza region.
In her letter, Darshan-Leitner writes: "It is a disgraceful that the
individual assigned by the Palestinian Authority to investigate the murders
of Branchizio, Linde and Parsons is himself a leading terrorist suspected
of numerous other roadside bombings in Gaza. If the United States is
sincere about making arrests then it must not tolerate Rashid Abu Shabak
heading up this crucial inquiry. The similarities between the October 15th
roadside bombing and the roadside bombing of the Kfar Darom school bus in
November 2000 cannot be ignored. We urge the Department of Justice to
initiate its own investigation of Abu Shabak and his role in prior Gaza
terror attacks, some of which have seriously injured American citizens."
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