Israeli Arab Sisters Held as Accessories to Terror Attacks

The Acre Magistrate's Court yesterday lifted a gag order on the arrest of two sisters from the Israeli Arab village of Arabeh in the Lower Galilee on charges of aiding and abetting a senior Islamic Jihad activist. The two sisters are suspected of helping Thabet Mardawi, who is believed responsible for a series of shooting attacks and suicide bombings against Israeli citizens.

Lina Jarbouni, 28, was arrested on April 18, apparently on the basis of information obtained during the interrogation of Mardawi, who was arrested during Operation Defensive Shield. Lina's brother, Sa'id, was also arrested, but was released after a few days.

Last week, Lina's younger sister, Lamis, was taken into custody. Yesterday, her remand was extended by another week.

Lina Jarbouni was charged yesterday in the Haifa District Court with assisting the enemy at a time of war (treason), conspiracy to commit treason, conspiracy to murder and having ties with a foreign agent.

According to the indictment, in April 2001, Lina was recruited by an Islamic Jihad activist from Jenin, Samar Silawi. She later met with Mardawi, who asked her to rent an apartment in an Israeli Arab community, to buy a car under her name for him to use to get into Israel, to make her bank account available for depositing funds and to obtain photocopies of identity cards of Israeli Arabs so that these could be forged to get operatives into Israel.

The prosecutor, attorney Shelly Ze'evi-Barzilai, claimed that Lina had willingly agreed to cooperate and that she had even photocopied the identity cards of her brother and two of his friends without their knowledge, knowing that these would be used by suicide bombers.

After receiving the photocopies, Maradawi asked Lina to help him get suicide bombers into Israel by checking whether there were roadblocks at the planned points of entry and warning of a police or military presence.

In another case, two sisters from the Israeli Arab village of Sakhnin were charged in the Haifa District Court with maintaining ties with a Tanzim militant and conspiring to assist in a suicide bombing.

Latifa Sa'adi, 20, who was arrested April 16, allegedly knew in advance of the terrorist attack carried out at the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem. Her sister, Buyisa Sa'adi, 25, was charged with having known about the attack but having done nothing to prevent it.

Latifa allegedly planned to meet with an 18-year-old Israeli Arab girl from the village of Baka al-Garbiyeh to see whether she was willing to go ahead with a suicide attack. Latifa is also believed to have corresponded over the Internet with a Tanzim activist, Muataz Haimuni, who had told her he intended to send suicide bombers into Israel and had asked her to recommend suitable locations.