- [At a time when almost all attention about terrorism is directed to Hamas, this official report speaks for itself – db]
June 19, 2005
Fatah operatives in Nablus continue to dispatch teenagers to terrorist missions, including suicide bombing attacks. This, despite harsh condemnations issued against the phenomenon in the past. A recently-discovered Fatah Tanzim cell in Nablus recruited teenagers for carrying out terrorist attacks inside Israeli territory. Among the arrested cell members were wanted terrorists who operated under the guidance and instruction of the Hezbollah organization in Lebanon
Recently, the Israel Security Agency (ISA) in conjunction with IDF forces arrested a Fatah Tanzim cell that operated in the Balata and Askar refugee camps in Nablus. The cell was in the final stages of preparation for carrying out a suicide bombing attack inside Israeli territory.
The cell recruited several teenagers aged 15-16 to carry out the terrorist attacks. Some of the detained cell m em bers operated under the guidance and instruction of the Hezbollah organization in Lebanon. Samir Ahmed Hassan Hashash, a 20-year-old resident of the Balata refugee camp, and Mahmoud Hamdan Abd al-Hadi Shtiwi, a 17-year-old resident of the Balata refugee camp, were among those cell m em bers responsible for the recruitment of underage suicide bombers.
Among the detainees were four operatives in charge of recruitment and four minors. Following are the names of the recruited teenagers as well as descriptions of the missions assigned to each.
A 15-year-old resident of the old Askar refugee camp: recruited by the cell to carry out a suicide bombing attack inside Israeli territory. In January 2005, he approached a Fatah Tanzim operative named Muhammad Walid Abd al-Fattah Naqib and volunteered to carry out a suicide bombing attack in order to become a martyr like his friend, Amar al-Far, who had perpetrated the suicide bombing attack in the Carmel Market 2.
A 15-year-old resident of the new Askar refugee camp was arrested with another 16-year-old minor: recruited two months ago to carry out a suicide bombing attack for Fatah Tanzim operatives in the Balata refugee camp. The objective of the terrorist attack was to assassinate an officer and three soldiers at an IDF checkpoint. A questioning of the two minors revealed that one of th em had been filmed in the Balata refugee camp, reading his last will and testament, with a picture of Khalil Marshoud in the background. Marshoud was a terrorist killed during a suicide terrorist attack in June 2004. The youth stated that ‘ Alaa’ Sanakreh, leader of the Fatah Tanzim in Balata, was aware he had been recruited 3.
A 16-year-old resident of the new Askar refugee camp: two weeks prior to his arrest, he was recruited by operatives from the Balata refugee camp to carry out a suicide bombing attack planned to take place inside Israeli territory. He turned himself in to IDF soldiers following the arrest of the other 15-year-old at the Hawara checkpoint, primarily out of fear his house would be demolished.
Muhammad Hashash, a 17-year-old resident of Balata, along with other youths from the Balata refugee camp, attempted to recruit an additional teenager to carry out a suicide bombing attack. After the minor refused, the group convinced him to carry out a terrorist attack against IDF soldiers at the Hawara checkpoint in the vicinity of Nablus. While he was attempting to activate two explosive charges, the soldiers noticed him and uncovered the two charges concealed on his body.
The discovery of the cell is yet another proof that despite the lull in the fighting, Fatah operatives continue recruiting, planning and att em pting to carry out terrorist attacks, including suicide bombing attacks. The case at hand is yet another d em onstration of the cynical use made by Fatah Tanzim operatives of teenagers for carrying out terrorist attacks. It should be noted that since the beginning of 2005, Israeli security forces arrested over 50 teenagers under the age of 18 involved in terrorist activity. It should also be noted that in the past two months, we have been witness to 15 cases of teenagers under the age of 18 involved in att em pts to carry out terrorist attacks (including suicide bombing attacks) and smuggle arms and ammunition through IDF checkpoints throughout the West Bank.
It should be mentioned that the phenomenon of using teenagers for terrorist missions draws harsh criticism from terrorist operatives as well as Palestinian residents of Nablus, where the phenomenon is most prevalent. Worth mentioning in this context are the past cond em nations issued in the wake of the arrest of two teenagers carrying explosives at the Hawara checkpoint (May 22, May 24, 2005): most of the cond em nations were issued by senior Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (Fatah) operatives (who had previously dispatched numerous teenagers to terrorist missions) and by the teenagers’ own parents 4. However, the uncovered case d em onstrates that despite the cond em nations, these operatives continue to dispatch teenagers to terrorist missions, including suicide bombing attacks.
Condemnations in Nablus against the recent incident
In the wake of the current affair, Al-Sharq al-Awsat, a London-based Saudi daily newspaper, published (June 18, 2005) cond em nations and protests by some elements in Nablus:
A leaflet was distributed in the Nablus region by some of the residents who oppose the terrorist organizations’ practice of sending Palestinian children to carry out terrorist attacks against Israel. The residents pointed out that such acts were criminal and that they were severely detrimental to the interests of the Palestinian people and to the children’s souls. The residents demanded such acts be halted immediately.
One of the residents who signed the leaflet told an Al-Sharq al-Awsat reporter that the leaflet was the cry of a thousand Palestinian families who fear for the fate of their children because of these acts. The resident claimed that the gunmen’s strategy was to accuse the children of being Israel ‘s agents, “followed by a d em and to restore their good names by carrying out acts against Israel…”
Mahmoud al-Alloul, the Governor of Nablus, stated that these children were “reckless youths” vying for attention or expressing their anger over the occupation without having anything to do with any organization. The improvised explosive belts captured in their possession are, as stated by Al-Alloul, testimony to that. He added that he did not believe ‘Alaa’ Sanakreh [who was aware of the recruitment of one of the teenagers in the current affair] stood behind these acts, since he supported the lull in the fighting.