1. During March 2007 a wave of arrests conducted in Qalqilya by the Israeli security forces led to the detention of 19 Hamas terrorist-operatives . Interrogation of the detainees revealed that the Hamas infrastructure in Qalqilya planned to carry out various types of attacks during the Passover holiday, including a suicide bombing attack in the Tel Aviv area .
2. Interrogations yielded the following information:
A. The attack was to be carried out in the Tel Aviv area by means of a van which had been loaded with 100 kg (220 lb) of powerful explosives and a large quantity of metal fragments (ball bearings, screws, bolts and nails) .
B. The suicide bomber drove the van to the center of Israel but did not carry out the attac k, and in the end he drove it back to Qalqilya. While the Hamas operatives were being arrested in Qalqilya, the van exploded as the result of what is known as a �work accident� (i.e., a technical failure).
C. The suicide bomber had an Israeli ID card which he had received as a result of family unification (as the son of a Qalqilya resident who had married a woman from Taibeh 1). His car had had Israeli license plates, enabling it to enter Israeli freely to both collect information and infiltrate the explosives into the country.
Summary and assessment
3. Interrogation of the terrorist-operatives revealed that Hamas’ broad infrastructure in Qalqilya has gone beyond the stage of reorganization and amassing strength and was capable of operating terrorist cells and carrying out attacks against Israel , including suicide bombing attacks. The infrastructure is still planning attacks, including those to be carried out within the near future .
4. Qalqilya’s proximity to the center of Israel makes it easy for Israelis to enter and leave the city for commercial and criminal activities. The Israeli security forces do not prevent the traffic in order not to harm the local fabric of life. The Hamas infrastructure exploited the situation to dispatch the suicide bomber to carry out an attack in Israel . In addition, it was another example of the use of Israeli identity cards provided in cases of family unification to carry out attacks and gather information within Israel .
5. In the past, the Hamas infrastructure in Qalqilya to which the detained terrorists belonged was involved in lethal suicide bombing attacks, for example the one at the Dolphinarium in Tel Aviv on June 1, 2001 (in which 21 civilians were killed, almost all of them teenagers, and 83 were wounded). The recent arrests show that the infrastructure had succeeded in rebuilding itself and achieved operational readiness . In addition, the incident shows that even after the recent political developments centering around the establishment of the Palestinian national unity government and the adoption of the Arab peace initiative by the Riyadh summit meeting, the terrorist organizations, among them Hamas’ terrorist-operative wing, continue their efforts to carry out lethal suicide bombing attacks in Israel .