Friday, May 25, 2007

Would-Be Olmert Assasin Detained

Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
at the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC)
May 24 , 2007

Israel's security forces detained Mus'ab Bashir, a resident of Deir al-Balah. In his interrogation, Bashir admitted that he recently entered Israel to gather intelligence on Israeli senior figures to assassinate them. Working with PFLP operatives in the Gaza Strip, he used a Doctors Without Borders permit to enter Israel (according to a report by the Israel Security Agency)

Mus'ab Muhammad Nimr Bashir


On April 19, 2007 , Mus'ab Muhammad Nimr Bashir , born in 1982, a resident of the Gaza Strip town of Deir al-Balah, was detained in Jerusalem . About five years ago, he started working for the international aid group Doctors Without Borders. As part of his humanitarian activity, he received a permit allowing him to enter Israel and stay in Jerusalem .

2. In his interrogation, Mus'ab Bashir admitted that several months ago, he decided to carry out an attack on a senior Israeli figure as revenge for the deaths of Palestinian civilians. Using the entry permit he was granted by Doctors Without Borders, he entered Israel and started gathering intelligence on senior Israeli politicians with the purpose of assassinating them. He collaborated with senior operatives of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in the Gaza Strip, who provided him with specific training for the assassination.

Mus'ab Bashir's preparations for the assassination

3. In his interrogation, Mus'ab Bashir related that he searched the Internet for information on Israeli parliament (Knesset) members whom he considered potential targets for a terrorist attack. Then, however, he discovered that they did not live in the Jerusalem region, where he was allowed to stay with his entry permit. He therefore reconsidered and decided to assassinate Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

4. For that purpose, in September 2006 Mus'ab Bashir met with three PFLP operatives in the Gaza Strip and shared his plan with them. During that meeting, it was decided that Bashir would go to Jerusalem using the Doctors Without Borders entry permit in order to gather intelligence on Israeli PM Ehud Olmert's residence and his daily routine.

5. Upon his arrival in Jerusalem , Bashir observed the Prime Minister's residence. Once he understood that the tight security would make Ehud Olmert's assassination impossible, Bashir returned to the Gaza Strip, met with the PFLP operatives once again, and informed them of his findings. It was then decided that Bashir would receive small arms training in preparation for carrying out the assassination. In November 2006, he was trained by a PFLP operative.

6. Approximately one month later, it was decided to assassinate an Israeli archaeologist working on a dig in the Jerusalem region. For that purpose, Bashir started training in hand-to-hand combat in order to kill the archaeologist without using arms. In January, February, and March 2007, Bashir entered Israel once again with his Doctors Without Borders permit and gathered intelligence on the intended target's daily routine. He entered Jerusalem once again on April 18 and was arrested on the following day.

7. In his interrogation, Mus'ab Bashir admitted that he was planning to return to the Gaza Strip in order to complete his hand-to-hand combat training. As part of that training, he was supposed to learn how to break a man's neck. After completing the training, he planned to go back to Israel in order to kill the archaeologist working on the dig.


The Hamas rocket attack on Sderot and the settlements around the Gaza Strip entered its seventh day as a ceasefire between Hamas and Fatah was maintained.

(May 20 Bulletin update)

Conflagration and destruction: Damage inflicted on the settlements bordering the Gaza Strip (Photo courtesy of the Israeli Police Dept)


1. Rocket attacks on the western Negev settlements continue into their seventh consecutive day . During the past 24 hours 17 rocket hits were identified in Israeli territory, a slight decrease from previous days. One of them hit a restaurant at Kibbutz Nir Am. There were no casualties but property was damaged. On the morning of May 21 three rocket hits were identified at settlements bordering on the Gaza Strip and south of Ashqelon . Since the beginning of the attacks 139 rocket hits have been identified. Most of rockets were launched by Hamas and some by other terrorist organizations, primarily the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Rocket damage to residential dwellings
(Photos courtesy of the Israeli Police Dept)

The rocket attacks: daily distribution of identified hits

A meeting of the Israeli Security Cabinet

2. A meeting of the Israeli Security Cabinet held on May 20, “i t was decided to allow the security establishment to step up operational measures designed to reduce missile fire and strike at the terrorist infrastructure behind the firing. At this stage, operational activity will focus on Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets since these organizations are responsible for the current escalation . To the extent that these sharper measures do not lead to increased calm, the Security Cabinet will reconvene to consider additional, more drastic measures.” At the same time, it was decided to “accelerate dealing with the Home Front” (Prime Minister's Internet site, May 21).

IDF activity

3. As part of the IDF's counterterrorist activities, the Israeli Air Force continued striking terrorist squads and lathes used to manufacture weapons. Tanks and infantry have remained in the northern Gaza Strip. A tank fired at a squad of terrorists launching anti-tank rockets in the Beit Hanoun region in the northern Gaza Strip in an attempt to prevent rocket fire. Since the IDF began its counterterrorist activities on May 16, in our assessment approximately 45 Palestinians have been killed, most of them Hamas operatives. Among those killed were a number of civilians who were close to the terrorist target area at the time.

4. Notable among the air strikes:

A. May 21 : during the afternoon the Air Force struck a vehicle in the Jabaliya refugee camp carrying terrorist-operatives. The strike filled four senior operatives who belonged to a PIJ rocket-launching squad.

B. May 20 : in the evening an armed terrorist squad was attacked in the Sajaiya quarter of Gaza City . Samih Farawne was killed, a Hamas terrorist-operative who had been involved in launching rockets and mortars (including on Israeli Independence Day last month). The attack damaged the house of Khalil al-Haya, chairman of the Hamas faction in the Palestinian Legislative Council. According to “Israeli military sources,” five terrorist operatives were wounded, as were three civilians (Haaretz, May 21). According to Palestinian reports, seven members of Khalil al-Haya family were killed.

C. May 20 : during the night two lathes which had been used to manufacture weapons were attacked.

The ceasefire between Hamas and Fatah is maintained

5. Since a ceasefire was announced on May 19, the relative lull in the fighting between Hamas and Fatah has been preserved. Life in the Gaza Strip has begun to return to normal, including reopening of schools and most of the universities.

6. According to one of the provisions of the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire, abductees, about 30 in number, were released by both sides. In addition, the committee for monitoring the ceasefire is supposed to complete the dismantling of roadblocks and the evacuation of buildings. Majid Abu Shamala, Fatah secretary, expressed his hope that the agreement would end the fighting (Ramattan News Agency, May 20).

7. Despite the ceasefire, a number of local violations occurred on May 20 without casualty:

A. Operatives belonging to the Executive Force and Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades fired rockets and mortars at a Special Force post in Khan Yunis.

B. Members of Palestinian General Security set up a roadblock, searched civilian vehicles and abducted Hamas operatives.

C. Members of the Presidential Guards fired a rocket at the Islamic University in Gaza City .

D. Members of the Presidential Guards abducted three Hamas operatives.

The propaganda war continues despite the ceasefire: A flyer calling the security forces loyal to Abu Mazen “Lahad's Army.” The Arabic reads: “Lahad's Army destroys, arrests, murders in cold blood” (Filisteen Al-‘An, May 20) .

Anti-rocket fire declarations

8. Yasser Abd Rabbo , secretary of the PLO's executive committee, called for an end to “the stupid rocket launchings” which, he said, Israel used to its own benefit by presenting itself as the victim. He claimed that the rocket fire served only the interests of the “militias” in the Gaza Strip and not the Palestinian cause, and therefore there was no choice but to take action against them, using “one [source of] security” and “one [source of] weapons” (Voice of Palestine Radio, May 20). In response, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that “the Palestinian resistance” (i.e., terrorism) headed by Hamas would continue the rocket attacks (May 20).

9. The Beit Hanoun residents' committee issued an announcement harshly condemning the rocket attacks, blaming those who fired them (i.e., Hamas) for the destruction of Beit Hanoun and the Gaza Strip. According to the announcement, “weren't the killings and cold-blooded executions in the middle of the road enough for them?...Do they really want to expose all of us to Israeli bombs, which don't distinguish between good and bad?” (Palestinian News Agency, May 18).