The killing of two senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives in the village of Silat al-Harithiya (in the vicinity of Jenin) prevented the perpetration of terrorist attacks in Israel, including suicide bombing attacks.

1. Two senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives were killed in fierce exchanges of fire with Israeli security forces that took place in the village of Silat al-Harithiya on December 20, 2006. The two were involved in planning terrorist attacks in Israel , including suicide bombing attacks. In the last planned terrorist attack, thwarted about a month ago, the two recruited a suicide bomber and instructed him in the use of explosive charges.

2. Following are details on the two operatives:

a. Salah Hafez Mahmoud Sawafteh, from the village of Toubas (in the Nablus region), born in 1983. Along with his brother, Sawafteh operated a laboratory for producing explosives. In 2006, he spent several months in a Palestinian Authority prison. Sawafteh was involved in planning and organizing several suicide bombing attacks in Israel . In the last such attack, thwarted about a month ago, his brother was to lead the suicide bomber into Israeli territory.

b. Hussam Mahmoud Ibrahim Issa, a resident of Sanour (in the vicinity of Nablus ), born in 1983. Between July 2003 and July 2005, he was held in an Israeli prison due to his activity in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Following his release, he resumed his activity in the organization and was involved in planning and organizing suicide bombing attacks in Israeli territory.


3.  The Palestinian Islamic Jihad infrastructure uncovered in Samaria was guided and financed by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad headquarters in Damascus . The said headquarters spares no efforts to perpetrate more terrorist attacks with the purpose of bringing about yet another escalation in the Palestinian campaign of terrorism against Israel .

4. In response to the killing of the two Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives, the organization fired five Qassam rockets from the Gaza Strip at populated areas in the western Negev . Palestinian Islamic Jihad spokesmen stated that the killing of the two operatives was proof that Israel does not uphold the ceasefire understandings. �All options are available,� according to the spokesmen, including rockets and suicide bombing attacks (�Pal today�, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad website, December 20, 2006).

Qassam rockets ready to launch: illustration (