JERUSALEM Ñ Hamas relies heavily on Arabs in Jerusalem for
logistics, recruitment and operations to facilitate suicide bombings in
Israeli security sources disclosed the role Hamas's presence in
Jerusalem in wake of the capture of the organization's leading cell in the
city. The Hamas cell was accused of facilitating three suicide operations
over the last few months that resulted in the deaths of nearly 50 people.
Hamas has employed Arab residents of Jerusalem to designate targets in
Israel, provide haven for suicide bombers, equip them with explosive belts
and transport them to their target, the sources said. Arab residents of
Jerusalem, classified as permanent Israeli residents, have free of movement
throughout the Jewish state.
The Israel Security Agency has captured three Hamas members in eastern
Jerusalem accused of planning the Aug. 19 suicide bombing of an Israeli bus
in Jerusalem. The attack on the bus filled with Jews returning from the
Western Wall resulted in 23 dead and 120 injured.
[On Thursday, Hamas gunners fired a Kassam-class short-range missile
from the Gaza Strip into Israel. The missile landed in the Negev Desert and
nobody was injured.]
Security sources said the group worked for Hamas cells in Bethlehem,
Hebron and Ramallah. They said the Jerusalem cell, recruited earlier this
year, was ordered to welcome the suicide bomber, outfit him and direct him
to his target.
An ISA statement said the head of the captured Hamas cell, identified as
Nassim Zaatari, 22, was recruited to the organization's military wing in
April 2003. Zaatari's recruiter was Ahmed Bader, Hamas's commander in Hebron
who was killed by Israeli forces on Sept. 9.
The Jerusalem cell -- which was also said to comprise Abdullah Sharbati,
22, and Majdi Zaatari, 25 -- was ordered to provide haven to Raad Misek of
Hebron. The ISA statement said Misek was taught how to detonate a explosive
The cell targeted a bus line from the Western Wall after noticing that
the vehicle was always filled with Jewish worshippers. Misek was transported
to the No. 2 bus line which he boarded and detonated the explosive belt.
"At the time of their arrests, the cell members were planning to
orchestrate three more suicide bombings in Jerusalem," the ISA statement