Government Press Office, July 2
Yuval Arel for the Israeli Police Department
1. In a joint IDF-Israel Security Agency operation held in Nablus in May 2008, a four-man terrorist squad was detained, all members of Hamas’s military-terrorist wing. The squad, all of whom lived in Nablus , planned to carry out attacks against Israel and were involved in an attempted suicide bombing attack in Tel Aviv in September 2008. The information gained during their interrogation and the weapons found in their possession indicate a high degree of readiness to carry out mass-casualty attacks against Israeli targets.
2. The men involved are:
i) Ayman Yussuf Ahmad Awad , 30, previously imprisoned in Israel for dispatching a suicide bomber
ii) Majdi Sabih Hussein abu Yassin , 26
iii) Tareq Abdallah Muhammad Zaher , 25
iv) Osama Hazem Rashad Hilawah , 21, a student at Al-Najah University
3. The squad operated in Nablus and concentrated for a long time on upgrading its capability to carry out terrorist attacks. They constructed a laboratory to manufacture explosives in an apartment building in Nablus , using easily available materials such as sulfuric and nitric acids. Instructions for manufacturing explosives were on a video cassette which they received from Hamas and additional explanations and demonstrations were provided by Muhannad Hafez Muhammad Zaher , 2 a senior Hamas operative who was killed in 2002. Fully operative explosives and a number of M-16s and Kalashnikovs were found in the squad’s possession.
4. The squad also prepared an explosive belt to be used in an attempted suicide bombing attack in Tel Aviv on September 22, 2007 . The attack was prevented when the Israeli security forces detained a Nablus resident working in Tel Aviv. Information revealed during his interrogation led the security forces to a ten-kilo (22 lb) explosive belt which had been hidden in an apartment in south Tel Aviv. 3
The building in south Tel Aviv where the explosive belt was found
(Yuval Arel for the Israeli Police Department).
1 Based on an Israel Security Agency report.
2 A Hamas operative who specialized in preparing explosive devices and was responsible for a number of attacks in Israel . He was killed in 2002 in a clash with the IDF.
3 For further information see our September 24, 2007 Bulletin entitled "A suicide bombing attack in Tel Aviv was prevented by the detention of a Hamas operative which led to the discovery of an explosive belt”