Following a shooting attack at a roadblock southeast of Jerusalem in May 2007 Israeli security forces detained Hamas operatives and arms dealers from Jabal Mukabir

Interior Minister Avi Dichter and Police Chief David Cohen visiting
one of the wounded soldiers (Israeli Interior Ministry Website, May 27).

Shooting attack southeast of Jerusalem

1. On May 26 the soldiers manning the Sheikh Sa’ad roadblock near Jabal Mukabir (southeast of Jerusalem ) were the victims of a shooting attack. The roadblock was close to the security fence around Jerusalem . A Border Policeman was seriously wounded and a security fence guard was moderately wounded.

2. Two Hamas operatives carried out the attack: Mahmoud Naji Ahmad Khalisa and Midhat Ahmad Yussuf Shqirat. Both of them, 24 years old and residents of Jabal Mukabir, used handguns, shooting at short range. During the ensuing exchange of fire both were killed, as was a passing Palestinian, also a resident of Jabal Mukabir.

Hamas operatives detained following the attack

3. In the wake of the attack the Israeli Security Agency and police detained a number of Hamas operatives and arms dealers in the Jabal Mukabir region. The detainees held Israeli ID cards issued in East Jerusalem . The most important information revealed by their interrogation was the following:

A. One of the Hamas operatives acquired the gun from an arms dealer named Anan Mahmoud Halaileh a few hours before the attack. Halaileh, a resident of Jebel Mukaber, had previously been involved (as well as other detainees) in attempts to steal weapons from IDF soldiers in order to sell them. He was detained following his involvement in the affair.

B. The detainees admitted to large-scale arms dealing activities. The weapons were furnished by criminals, by Arab Israelis living in northern Israel and by Hamas operatives from the regions of Hebron and Ramallah. The connections between Hamas operatives and criminals with Israeli ID cards make it easier for them to acquire weapons used to carry out attacks against Israel .

4. The investigation revealed that one of the terrorists involved in the attack had belonged to a local Hamas group and had undergone clandestine religious indoctrination according to Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood ideology. Similar religious "study groups” are often the first stage in enlisting, indoctrinating and preparing Hamas operatives for terrorist missions . Besides the current incident, in past years there have been other instances in which Hamas operatives in East Jerusalem have shifted their religious studies to anti-Israel terrorist activities. In recent years, most of the Hamas operatives in East Jerusalem involved in particularly lethal terrorist attacks began the activities in such groups. 2