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Released for Publication: 'Protesters' Were Disguised Terrorists

Military and intelligence forces nabbed a wanted terrorist who was part of a Hamas cell disguised as nonviolent protesters in late February.
By Nissan Ratzlav-Katz
First Publish: 4/1/2008, 3:17 PM


According to a report released for publication on Tuesday morning, military and intelligence forces nabbed a wanted terrorist who was part of a Hamas cell disguised as nonviolent protesters in late February.

The joint IDF and General Security Services (GSS) operation on February 25, 2008, led to the capture of Muhamad Kassem, a Hamas terrorist, during the course of a planned attack on Israeli soldiers. The attackers disguised
The protest, like the planned attack, was organized by Hamas.
themselves as protesters during a demonstration near the Erez Crossing along the Gaza perimeter fence. The protest, like the planned attack, was organized by Hamas. 

According to the foiled plan, after detonating an explosive device near IDF forces deployed to control the Gaza protest, the terrorists were to open fire at the soldiers.

Kassem, 18, a resident of Beit Lahiya in Gaza, admitted that he was involved in a series of attempts to attack IDF soldiers, including: planting and activating explosive devices; ambushing IDF patrols; scouting for intelligence; and participating in the planning of a suicide bombing.

In September 2007, Kassem was recruited for the Hamas' suicide bombers unit and participated in a training course along with 40 additional recruits. As a part of his training, Kassem was supposed to receive an explosive belt weighing 20 kilograms. Kassem was arrested before he received the belt.

During his interrogation, Kassem said he was involved in planting and detonating explosive devices against IDF tanks. In one of these incidents, Kassem was involved in an attempt to plant an explosive device weighing 25kg. He and another Hamas terrorist conducted surveillance of IDF forces, but due to technical difficulties the device did not explode.

Counterterrorism Operations Continue
In another security success, IDF soldiers operating near the Gaza separation barrier early Tuesday morning killed two Hamas terrorists and wounded two others. IDF forces were conducting a routine counterterrorism operation when they encountered resistance and returned fire. Several terrorists were arrested and the soldiers returned to their base unharmed.

Palestinian Authority attacks on Israelis, both soldiers and civilians, continued on Tuesday as well. Two people were lightly wounded when Palestinian Authority terrorists fired two mortars from northern Gaza at nearby Jewish towns. A building and an electric line were damaged in the attack as well.

The shells slammed into the community of Netiv HaAsarah, just north of the Gaza region. Two people suffering from shrapnel wounds were taken to Ashkelon's Barzilai Hospital for treatment.

Earlier on Tuesday morning, a barrage of mortar shells were fired by PA terrorists at Jewish towns on the outskirts of Gaza. The shells landed near the Kissufim Crossing, the passage formerly used by residents of Gush Katif to reach their homes. No damage or injuries were reported in the attack.

In Samaria, PA residents attacked Jewish motorists driving between the towns of Tapuach and Migdalim. No injuries were reported, though vehicles were damaged.