The defense establishment yesterday published a list of seven Palestinian terrorists the Palestinian Authority has refused to arrest, despite Israel's requests. The publication of the list followed yesterday's assassination of Omar Mansour Hassan al-Madiri, a Hamas activist from Tul Karm.
The list, issued as a Defense Ministry press release, is apparently a public relations exercise to show that Israel attempts to kill terrorists only when all other methods, including cooperation with the PA, have failed.
The statement does not spell out any action Israel might take against the seven should the PA continue to ignore requests to arrest them - it merely state the seven are continuing to launch terrorist strikes out of Palestinian territory and are not being arrested.
Israel has often used the Palestinians' refusal to arrest wanted terrorists as justification for killing them. Security sources said the statement was also meant to deter the men on the list and even force them to go underground. "Better to have them busy running than planning terror attacks," said one.
Although Israel has asked the PA to arrest scores of terrorists, only the following seven appeared on the list:
l Raad Mohammed Raif Karmi, 27, of Tul Karm. Karmi, a Fatah activist, was involved in killing two restaurateurs from Tel Aviv in Tul Karm in January. Israel has repeatedly requested his arrest since the Tenet cease-fire agreement was signed on June 13. He is thought to have been involved in the murder of two other Israelis, Doron Zisserman and Danny Yehuda, since the cease-fire was declared.
l Thabet Azami Suleiman Mardawi, 25. An Islamic Jihad activist from a village near Jenin, Mardawi was involved in both the suicide bombing in Hadera on May 25 and the bombing in Binyamina on July 16. Two people were killed and 53 wounded in these attacks.
l Mahmoud Ahmed Tualba, 22. Another Islamic Jihad activist from near Jenin, also involved in the Hadera and Binyamina bombings. In addition, he was involved in two failed suicide bombings in Afula and Haifa. The PA is currently holding him in "protective custody," but Israel says this has not stopped him from organizing attacks.
l Kamel Najib Abu-Wa'ar, 27, from the Balata refugee camp near Nablus. Abu-Wa'ar, a Fatah and Force 17 activist, has been involved in several shooting attacks, including the murder of a settler near Itamar on May 8.
l Ahad Yussuf Olama, 33, of Ramallah. A senior PFLP activist in the West Bank, he was involved in two car bombings in Jerusalem in February and March. Five people were injured in the former.
l Mussa Mohammed Kulab, 30, of Khan Yunis. A Hamas activist, Kulab has been involved in many mortar attacks in Gaza.
l Nabil Hassan Srihi, 26, from the Gaza Strip. An Islamic Jihad activist who was involved in two suicide bombings.
Hamas man killed
Al-Madiri, 26, was killed when an IDF helicopter fired three missiles at his car at about 4:30 P.M. yesterday. Three Palestinian bystanders were lightly injured in the attack.
The IDF said Al-Madiri had planned a series of suicide bombings inside Israel, due to take place within the next few days. He was also involved in many previous shooting and bombing attacks, particularly in the northern West Bank. Hamas activists questioned by the Shin Bet security service have repeatedly named him as a senior figure in the movement, who recruited and trained suicide bombers and sent them on missions. He was twice arrested by Israel, in 1995 and 1998, and admitted to being a Hamas activist.
A government source in Jerusalem said at the time of his death, Al-Madiri's car was carrying explosives destined for two suicide bombers. Hamas, however, claimed yesterday that Al-Madiri was a political activist.
Hamas, Fatah and the PA all denounced the killing yesterday, demanding international intervention to protect the Palestinians and accusing the United States of giving Israel a green light "to commit its crimes."
Al-Madiri was Israel's third attempted assassination in the last week, following the killing of Jamal Mansour and Jamal Salim of Hamas last Tuesday and a failed strike at Muhind Dirya of Force 17 on Saturday. Security sources said that with Al-Madiri's death, Israel has now killed most of Hamas's key military activists in Tul Karm and Nablus.
A senior security official said yesterday Israel would continue its targeted killings, as these put heavy pressure on both the terrorists and the PA. The killings have significantly reduced Hamas's technical ability to carry out a successful bombing, the source said.
"There is a terrorist war going on here. Anyone who wants to strike at us, we must strike at him," the official said. But the source denied that Israel had planned to hit Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti in its attack on Dirya, who is one of Barghouti's senior aides.
The source claimed that there is increasing internal dissent within the PA regarding continuation of the conflict - dissent that did not exist two or three months ago.
(Amira Hass and Aluf Benn contributed to this report)