Alleged Saladin Brigades members indicted

Two Palestinian men from Gaza are suspected of plotting to kill soldiers, fire rockets on Israeli targets.

By
February 15, 2012 03:07
3 minute read.
A masked Hamas terrorist.

Masked Hamas terrorist 311 R. (photo credit: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa / Reuters)

 
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The Southern District Attorney filed indictments in the Beersheba District Court on Tuesday, charging two men from Rafah in Gaza with a string of national security offenses.

The indictments against Zalah and Taimeh come days after the district attorney charged another Gaza resident, Ahram al-Zufi, with similar national security offenses, including membership of Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

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The indictments allege that the two men, Rafah residents Zalah bin Mussa al-Zufi and Rami Bin Farid Abu Taimeh, are members of the Saladin Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), and of Hamas.

Both men were arrested on January 18 after infiltrating Israel, which they allegedly did to be imprisoned and then receive a salary from the Palestinian Prisoners Association.

A Palestinian Authority law enacted in 2011 grants monthly salaries of around NIS 1,500 to Palestinians imprisoned in Israel for terror-related offenses.

According to the indictment against Zalah, the Rafah resident agreed to join Hamas in 2010, after he met with Abdullah Jamiah Zufi, an agent from the terror group’s military wing. Abdullah asked Zalah to report to him about IDF ground or Air Force activity on the Gaza border, which Zalah allegedly did for five months, receiving around NIS 100 each week.

The indictment further charges that towards the end of 2010, Zalah met with an agent of the Saladin Brigades, who asked him to join the organization’s ‘Ribat’ squad and carry out armed-guard duty on the Gaza border. After taking part in military training , Zalah allegedly guarded the Hittin base on the Gaza border in an effort to shoot and kill IDF soldiers.



In August 2011, Zalah received explosives training, including bomb-making and charge-laying, as well as weapons training, including rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, the indictment says.

Allegedly, following the training, the PRC military wing awarded Zalah an official Saladin Brigades membership certificate.

The indictment also charges Zafah with several attempts to infiltrate Israel, conspiring with Hamas activists to trade in illegal weapons and with recruiting a 16-year-old minor, known only as “Alef,” to pass details of IDF air and ground force movements near the Gaza border to the Saladin Brigades.

In December 2011, the indictment further alleges, Zalah toured the Gaza border with a Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) member, Rashad Odeh Abu Sanimeh, where the two watched IDF activity. Shortly afterward, Rashad contacted Zalah, who allegedly agreed to join a plot to kill Israeli soldiers patrolling the border fence.

Zalah’s role in the PIJ squad was to assist the others, and help them carry weapons, including RPGs and machine guns, the indictment says.

In early January, Zalah and Rashad allegedly met near the border, where they extinguished street lamps to make it easier for the squad to carry out the attack. However, Rashad called off the attack at the last minute, telling Zalah that his squad was not in the area, the indictment says.

In a separate indictment, the district attorney charges Taimeh with joining the Saladin Brigades in August or September 2011, where he participated in explosives and rifle training, also at the Hittin base. The indictment also alleges that Taimeh also carried out guard duty with the “Ribat” squad, where he planned to shoot and kill Israeli soldiers.

Allegedly, in October 2011 Taimeh spent six days helping dig a tunnel between Rafah into Egypt, receiving NIS 600 for his work. The tunnel is owned by an Egyptian family from Khan Younis and the Saladin Brigades used it to transfer weapons from Egypt to Gaza, for use by terror organizations, the indictment says. In December 2011, Taimeh allegedly helped dig another tunnel, this time owned by a Gaza man nicknamed Abu Said Abu Taha.

In January 2012, the indictment says, Abu Taha asked Taimeh to contact a man nicknamed “Al-Qaddafi,” so the two could carry out a plot to fire rockets into Israel and murder Israeli civilians.

Allegedly, Taimeh and “Al-Qaddafi” plotted to bring a six-kilometer-ranged rocket launcher from Egypt through the tunnel, and then launch a rocket from open fields near Rafah into Israel.

Both Taimeh and Zalah were arrested by IDF forces on January 18 when they infiltrated Israel.

Prior to crossing the border, Zalah allegedly contacted Alef, the 16-year-old boy he recruited previously, and asked him to come with him. Zalah and Taimeh took handguns, grenades and a flak jacket with them, the indictment charges, as well as documents to prove their membership in the Saladin Brigades terror group, so that when they were imprisoned they would be eligible for a salary from the PA.

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