Daily Israel Report

Self-Investigation in the P.A.

First Publish: 12/18/2003, 5:19 PM

The Palestinian Authority says it is investigating the terrorist murder of three American security personnel of two months ago - but the man in charge is likely the very man who planned the attack. So says Israel Law Center Director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner in a letter to U.S. Attorney-General John Ashcroft.

On October 15, 2003, one or more Palestinian terrorists shot at a U.S. diplomatic convoy in the Gaza Strip, murdering John Branchizio, 37, of Texas, John Linde Jr., 30, of Missouri, and Mark Parsons, 31, of New Jersey.

Gaza PA Commander Col. Rashid Abu Shabak has been charged by the Palestinian Authority and the FBI with hunting down the terrorist cell responsible for the attack. Darshan-Leitner, however, accuses Abu Shabak himself of having masterminded numerous similar terror attacks in Gaza. The Law Center urges the Department of Justice to investigate Abu Shabak's involvement in prior roadside bombings. "Not surprisingly," states the Center, "there have been no arrests made by the Palestinians in the current investigation."

Abu Shabak, according to the Law Center letter, is a leading suspect in terror attacks such as the targeting of school buses in April 1997 and October 2000. He is also suspected of involvement in the school bus attack of November 2000, in which two teachers were killed and nine people were wounded, including three Cohen family siblings who lost parts of their legs.