Photo courtesy of the Israel Security Agency, July 5, 2009
1. On June 1 the Israel Security Agency and the police detained Abd al-Rahman bin Khalil Talalqeh, 25, a resident of the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. He infiltrated into Israel on June 1 with the intention of establishing a terrorist network in Israel for the purpose of carrying out various types of attacks. On July 5, 2009, he was indicted at the Beersheba district court.
2. During interrogation he spoke about his military training and the exercises he was given by Popular Resistance Committees operatives in the southern Gaza Strip. The training included firing various weapons, manufacturing chemical compounds (used in making explosives and improvised weapons), rigging car bombs, preparing explosive belts and bags, detonating IEDs, using GPS devices, map reading and geographical orientation for collecting information.
3. In recent months Hamas has refrained from firing rockets and mortar shell into the western Negev . In addition, it has usually imposed its policy of restraint on the other terrorist organizations and has occasionally detained operatives belonging to rogue organizations which try to defy its authority. In our assessment, it is doubtful whether that policy includes infiltrating operatives or terrorist squads into Israeli territory to carry out attacks. The case of Talalqeh shows that the Gaza Strip remains a potential focal area for dispatching lone terrorists or squads to Israel by exploiting the wide-open Israel-Egypt border.
Recruiting and training operatives for terrorist attacks
4. According to the indictment, in 1999, while Talalqeh was a high school student, he was recruited by Hamas’s Islamic student movement (which has traditionally recruited operatives for Hamas). As a member of the movement he attended clandestine meetings at a Nuseirat mosque twice a week and was in charge of a squad whose main activities were participating in processions, writing slogans on walls and putting up posters. He also studied Islam and even visited Hamas leaders Aziz Rantisi and Sheikh Ahmed Yassin at their homes. 2
5. After a year of such activities Talalqeh joined one of Hamas’s operational squads. His activities there ended in 2006 after an argument broke out between him and the squad leader. They quarreled because Talalqeh wanted the members of the squad to spend more time studying religion. After he left Hamas he appealed to an operative of Popular Resistance Committees’ military-terrorist wing, thinking he was an Al-Qaeda operative, and spoke to him about suicide bombing attacks . Talaqeh expressed his agreement to carrying out such an attack and it was agreed that he would receive military training. The training included six two-hour meetings devoted to preparing bombs, detonating explosive belts, firing various types of guns, moving in a crowd without arousing suspicion, using GPS devices, following people, learning how to gather information and about the methods used by the Israeli security forces to conduct interrogations, should he be detained. He was also taught how to drive. The nature of his training may indicate that there were not necessarily plans to send him on a suicide bombing mission.
Infiltrating Talalqeh into Israel and the missions he was supposed to carry out
6. When his training ended he was asked to infiltrate into Israel , to purchase an identity card, a vehicle registered to an Israeli citizen and a mobile phone. He was also asked to collect information about IDF bases and police stations. The plan was for him to carry out the following types of attacks:
i) Abducting and murdering IDF soldiers : After abducting and murdering an IDF soldier Talalqeh was supposed to bury the body, mark the spot with a tracking device and inform his dispatchers in the Gaza Strip so they could bargain for the release of Palestinian prisoners.
ii) Suicide bombing attack : According to the plan, should the abduction fail, he would be sent additional operatives from the Gaza Strip to carry out a suicide bombing attack or he himself would recruit a suicide bomber in one of the mosques in Israel from among Israeli Arabs or residents of Judea and Samaria . The suicide bombing attack would be carried out using either an explosive belt or a large bag filled with explosives.
iii) Car bomb attack : Such an attack would be carried out by rigging his vehicle with explosives and detonating them by remote control using a mobile phone or a clock. The location would be a crowded area or a police station.
7. Talalqeh was requested to acquire the materials for making explosives from terrorist operatives with whom his dispatchers were in contact or to buy them himself at drug stores, medical institutions and stores for agricultural equipment. He was to purchase the material in small quantities to avoid suspicion.
Entering Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip
1 According to an Israel Security Agency report and the indictment handed down on July 5 at the Beersheba district court.
2 Ahmed Yassin was died in a targeted killing on March 22, 2004, and was replaced by Aziz Rantisi, who died in a targeted killing on April 17, 2004.