IDF soldiers are continuing to operate in Arafat's Mukata compound in the city of Ramallah.
The soldiers are encircling the compound, in which they say some 20 of the most wanted Palestinian terrorists-responsible for the planning and execution of terrorist attacks-are taking shelter.
Among those hiding inside the compound are four senior Palestinians, who Israel says have been involved in numerous terrorist activities and the deaths of numerous Israeli citizens. These include Tawfik Tirawe, head of the Palestinian General Intelligence in the West Bank, and Muhamad Damra (also known as Abu Awad), the commander of "Force 17" (the Presidential Security Force) in the Ramallah area.
Tawfik Tirawe. Background Information Tawfik Tirawe, one of the most wanted senior Palestinians, is the head of the Palestinian General Intelligence in the West Bank. This organization gathers information concerning subversive or opposition groups, as well as on Israeli security and intelligence agencies.
Israel accuses that Tirawe has run the intelligence forces as a terrorist entity. At the beginning of the current conflict, in September 2000, Tirawe operated a terror cell in the West Bank and in Jerusalem that was associated with both Fatah and the Palestinian security forces. Tirawe operated well-trained terrorist cells, staffed with terrorists who are loyal to him - General Intelligence and Tanzim operatives who were personally connected to him. These cells carried out several shooting attacks, killing at least 6 Israelis.
Tirawe was also involved in the transfer of considerable amounts of money and weapons for terrorist activities. Tirawe's General Intelligence organization in the West Bank smuggled weapons into the Palestinian Authority (PA) for use in terrorist attacks.
The Palestinian General Intelligence organization in the West Bank also gathered information on Israeli communities, the IDF, and public institutions in Israeli cities, in preparation for carrying out terrorist attacks. Tirawe's personal involvement in these attacks was revealed during the questioning of several West Bank General Intelligence operatives who were arrested by Israeli security forces. Tirawe's involvement in these activities has been increasing.
Another wanted Palestinian terrorist who has taken refuge in the Mukata was identified as Eini Al'Halo, Tirawe's right hand man in terrorist activity. Al'Halo serves as head of the Special Forces unit of the Palestinian General Intelligence in the West Bank.
Muhamad Damra. Background Information Muhamad Damra (also known as Abu Awad), commander of Force 17, the Presidential Security Personnel in Ramallah, has also taken refuge inside Arafat's compound.
Force 17 is a military organization responsible for protecting the senior officials of the Palestinian Authority, as well as PA institutions. It has also played a role in local security, carrying out patrols and setting roadblocks.
Israeli officials say that since the beginning of the current conflict, Muhamad Damra has led a terrorist cell in the Ramallah sector that has carried out deadly terrorist attacks, including shooting at Israeli vehicles, attacking Israeli communities and IDF positions, and planting bombs and explosive devices. The terrorists commanded by Muhamad Damra include members of Force 17 and the Fatah movement. Damra's role has been to relay orders for carrying out attacks and supplying weapons, as well as providing financing. In addition, Damra was responsible for Arafat's security whenever he was in Ramallah. The close relationship between Damra and Arafat testifies to Arafat's direct involvement in terrorist activity.
Some of the more significant attacks carried out by this cell are:
- 13 November 2000 - Terrorist shooting attack near Neve Tzuf; two IDF soldiers were killed, as well as a female Israeli civilian.
- 24 November 2001 - Terrorist shooting attack at Tapuah Junction; one Israeli civilian killed.
- 21 December 2001 - Terrorist shooting attack on Route 443 (Modi'in-Jerusalem) near Giv'at Ze'ev; one Israeli civilian killed.
- 31 December 2000 - Terrorist shooting attack near the Israeli community of Ofra; two Israeli civilians killed.
- November - Terrorist shooting attacks on the Israeli community of Psagot and on the Ofer Camp, near Ramallah.
The most wanted Palestinian terrorists inside Arafat's compound also include H'aled Sha'uoish, a senior Force 17 operative. H'aled Sha'uoish carried out many terrorist attacks in the Ramallah area under the auspices of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (the military arm of Fatah). These included several shooting attacks, which took the lives of at least six Israelis.
H'aled Sha'uoish served as the head of the Organization Branch in the Jenin area until May 2001. At the same time, Sha'uoish carried out numerous terrorist shooting attacks against Israelis in cooperation with Islamic Jihad operatives from Jenin, whom he met while serving in the Palestinian Authority's prison in Nablus. He later returned to Ramallah, where he focused on carrying out terrorist shooting attacks, as well as manufacturing explosives.
Gil Eyal PRAVDA.Ru Israel