Sunday, September 19, 2004

IDF: 23 family reunifications have led to terror attacks

Since the beginning of 2001, 23 Palestinians, all holders of Israeli identity cards due to the family reunification program, were arrested by security forces for their involvement in terror attacks inside Israel, including three suicide bomb attacks which resulted in the deaths of 16 Israelis,
according to information released yesterday by security officials.

Palestinian holders of Israeli identity cards, acquired if one of their parents is an Israeli citizen, have become prized recruits for terror organizations.

Their ability to travel inside Israel unrestricted and their familiarity with Israeli culture and Hebrew are used by the terror organizations in the West Bank to compile information, transport attackers, and transfer weapons and bombs in preparation for attacks.

Shadi Tubasi, who was recruited by Hamas in Jenin, blew up at the Matza restaurant in Haifa on March 31, 2002, killing 15 Israelis. Tubasi was granted Israeli citizenship as her mother is from the Nazareth region.

Muhammad Matsri was recruited by the Islamic Jihad to place a car bomb outside of an army base in Israel, but was arrested by security forces in March 2003 before carrying out the attack. Matsri's father is an Israeli Arab and his mother is from Kalkilya.

Muhammad Mahajneh, a resident of Jenin, was arrested in May 2003 while transporting Majed Tsabah toward Hadera where he was to have launched a shooting attack. Mahajneh has Israeli citizenship because his family lived in the Arab Israeli city of Umm el-Fahm. He was working for Hamas.

Samer Atrash, who lived in the Shuafat refugee camp, was arrested after he drove a suicide bomber to the French Hill neighborhood of Jerusalem, where the latter blew up on Egged bus No. 6 and killed seven Israelis in May 2003.

Murad Ala'an was recruited by Hamas to launch a suicide attack at the Filter cafe in Jerusalem, where he worked as a chef. Ala'an, originally from the Al-Aida refugee camp near Bethlehem, was the holder of an Israeli identity card because his mother lives in east Jerusalem.

During his investigation, Murad admitted that there were a number of Palestinians, all Israeli identity-card holders in the framework of the family unification program, who had been recruited by terrorist organizations.

Another example is the Hamas cell in Jerusalem that was responsible for the suicide bombings at the Hebrew University and at Cafe Moment in Jerusalem. The cell also planned to launch attacks and blow up trains and gas tankers.

Muhammad Oudeh, of east Jerusalem, placed the bomb in the Hebrew University cafeteria. Sami Abassi, also of east Jerusalem, worked in the Holon area and compiled information on access routes to be used by suicide bombers."