TEL AVIV ø Israel has captured a senior operative of the Islamic
Jihad in the West Bank who served as a liasion to Syria.
Israeli forces detained Bassam Abdul Rahman Ahmed Abu Aker, identified
as a senior Islamic Jihad terrorist in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Abu
Aker, 42, has been sought by Israeli forces since 1999 and was described as
one of the leaders of Jihad in the Bethlehem region.
Israeli military sources said Abu Aker was arrested on Tuesday during a
joint military and security operation in the Bethlehem suburb of Bet Sahour.
The sources said Abu Aker has been in contact with Jihad headquarters in
An Israeli military statement said Abu Aker was involved in recruitment
for Jihad, directing Palestinian shooting attacks on the southern Jerusalem
neighborhood of Gilo as well as against military targets in the Bethlehem
region. Abu Aker was also said to have been responsible for the March 2001
car-bombing in the Talpiot neighborhood in Jerusalem, in which five
Israeli citizens were injured.
In March 2002, the statement said, Abu Aker sent a suicide bomber, who
carried out the attack in the French Hill neighborhood in Jerusalem. The
suicide bomber blew himself up while trying to get on a bus, injuring
several Israeli civilians.
On Tuesday, the Palestinian Authority handed over a six-kilogram suicide
belt found in Bethlehem to Israeli military authorities. Israeli sappers
destroyed the belt.