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'Israeli ' Arabs arrested in plot to kill head of Israel's religious party - other officials targetted

Torah scholar Ovadia Yosef targetted by Arab delivery boy who planned to kill him as he was leaving his home
April 17, 2005

Rabbi Ovadia Yossef

MIM: As Israel continues to release Arab terrorists, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine,which was behind the murder of tourism minister Rehavam Zeevi, plotted to kill one of Israel's leading rabbis . Last month Abbas said he planned to release Zeev'is killers, but changed his mind after Israel said it would not relinquish Jericho and Tulkarm if the murderers were released. The threat of terrorism by a fifth column of Arabs living and working in all sectors of Israeli society has to be addressed as one of the greatest security threats against the country today. The plot against Yosef comes on the heels of a plot by an Arab builder to plant explosives in the Knesset , and the bombing last year at Hebrew University ,which was carried out by a cafeteria worker. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Israeli Arabs Arrested in Plot to Kill Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Sunday, April 17, 2005

An Arab from north Jerusalem exploited his position as a delivery boy for a Jewish grocery store to plan an operation to assassinate Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, one of Judaism's most revered Torah scholars.

Three Israeli Arabs from north Jerusalem, members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), have been arrested for plotting to murder Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, spiritual mentor of the Shas Party and one of the great Torah scholars of this generation.

One of the conspirators, Mussa Darwish, 22, a resident of Issawiya, a north Jerusalem neighborhood, became familiar with the location of the rabbi's home, while working as a delivery boy for a grocery store in the Jewish neighborhood of Givat Shaul.

Darwish, who according to security sources, came up with the idea to kill the elderly rabbi, worked with two other PFLP terrorists, Salah Hamuri, 20, a French citizen from Dahyat Al B'rid, and Mutsan Mohammed Yavsha, 25, from Anatah. All there were Jerusalem residents who carry Israeli identification cards.

Shortly after Hamuri's release from jail a year ago on charges relating to terrorist activity, the three began to rebuild the PFLP's infrastructure among the Israeli Arab community living in northern Jerusalem.

Darwish and Hamuri planned out the attack in January, carrying out surveillance of the rabbi's home, determining how to arrive at and then escape from the area after the murder. The two terrorists planned to kill the rabbi outside his home in the Har Nof neighborhood and then escape on motorcycles.

The PFLP terrorists were arrested just before carrying out the attack, as they were awaiting orders from more senior officials in the organization regarding the method to be used for executing the murder.

According to the security services, the PFLP cell had also been gathering weapons and ammunition to be used for carrying out terrorist attacks against Jewish targets in the capital.

The PFLP is the same terrorist organization responsible for the murder of Israel's Minister of Tourism, Rahavam Zeevi, at Jerusalem's Hyatt hotel in 2001. Since then, the organization has been regrouping in order to carry out another sensational murder against an Israeli public figure, recruiting mainly among Israeli Arabs who have free access to anywhere in the country.

According to a report in Haaretz, Zeevi's murderers, jailed in Jericho under an agreement with the Palestinian Authority, apparently gave their approval to kill the rabbi.

Security sources say that the fact that the PFLP has been active in Jerusalem allows the organization to potentially strike anywhere in town, effectively giving them a significant head start on any operation to eliminate an Israeli figure.

The PFLP attempt to murder Rabbi Yosef was made despite beefed up security around the rabbi's home.

Since their arrest, one terrorist has been indicted in Jerusalem District Court, while the two others are still being interrogated.


Mussa Darwish, 22, of Issawiyah, Matsem Dieb Sheikh, 25, of Anata, and Salah Hassan Hamori, 20, of Dahiat al-Barid.

PFLP members planned to assasinate Ovadia Yosef

Margot Dudkevitch, THE JERUSALEM POST Apr. 17, 2005

Members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine who planned to assassinate Shas mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef while leaving his Jerusalem home were recently arrested by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and Israel Police, it was revealed Sunday, following the lifting of a lengthy gag order.

A Shas spokesman said that Yosef's schedule and activities are decided in coordination with the Shin Bet and the police. Shas chairman Eli Yishai complained that governmental officials were preventing the rabbi from receiving constant Shin Bet supervision.

"Rabbi Ovadia Yosef deserves the same protection as former prime ministers," Yishai said. "The arrest is a warning signal that should not be ignored."

In January, cell members studied the route leading to and from Yosef's home as well as the security arrangements around the rabbi, and monitored his movements. Cell members had reportedly planned additional terrorist activities.

Details released by the Shin Bet on Sunday revealed that the cell members, all residents of neighborhoods in northern Jerusalem, received funds and instructions from a senior PFLP member in Jerusalem and maintained close contacts with PFLP members incarcerated in Jericho for their involvement in the assassination of former minister Rehavam Ze'evi.

Security officials identified the three cell members as Salah Hassan Hamori, 20, of Dahiat al-Barid, Matsem Dieb Sheikh, 25, of Anata, and Mussa Darwish, 22, of Issawiyah.

Hamori, who holds an Israeli identity card and French citizenship, was incarcerated in the past for PFLP activities. After his release from jail a year ago, intensive efforts were made to re-establish a cell in Jerusalem, and a number of networks were set up. The cell members had planned attacks, organized street disturbances and handed out leaflets. The three then began purchasing weapons and ammunition.

Darwish had worked in the past as a messenger boy in Givat Shaul and was acquainted with the location of Yosef's home in the Har Nof neighborhood. He recommended to the other cell members that they target Yosef. Two members then studied the routes to and from Yosef's house and decided that they would use motorcycles in order to flee the site. It was decided that the best time to target Yosef would be when he left home.

Security officials noted that since Ze'evi's assassination, members of the PFLP have continued to plan attacks against senior Israeli officials. The existence of the PFLP infrastructure in Jerusalem allows its members access to western Jerusalem and enables them to plan such attacks, security officials said.

The PFLP recruited Amar al Far, 16, the suicide bomber who blew up at Tel Aviv's Carmel marketplace last year. Last September, Adala Jawabra, 21, and Linan Jawabra, 22, two relatives recruited by the PFLP to blow up in Tel Aviv surrendered to troops at the Beit Iba checkpoint outside Nablus hours after security forces killed their dispatcher.

Linan is the sister of Ihad Olame of Beit Furik who is incarcerated along with the PFLP secretary-general Ahmed Sadat in Jericho for their role in the Ze'evi, assassination in October 2001 in a Jerusalem hotel.

Other attacks carried out by the PFLP include the February 2003 infiltration into an IDF position on Mount Grizim near Nablus in which two soldiers were killed; the April 2003 infiltration into the Bekaot training camp in the northern Jordan Valley in which two soldiers were killed; and the bomb attack at the Geha Junction last December in which four civilians were killed.

Gil Hoffman contributed to this report

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