Ex-Arafat aide guilty in Karine A case

Military court convicts Fuad Shubaki of bankrolling Iranian arms ship intercepted by Israeli commandos.

karine a 248 88 (photo credit: AP)
karine a 248 88
(photo credit: AP)
An IDF military court in the West Bank has convicted Yasser Arafat's former financial aide Fuad Shubaki of illegal arms dealing, as well as organizing and financing the Karine A weapons boat, which the IDF caught carrying advanced weaponry in the Red Sea as it was making its way to the Gaza Strip in 2002. Shubaki, who was arrested three years ago, was also convicted of bankrolling terror attacks and providing funds for the Aksa Martyrs' Brigades terror group during the second intifada. According to the court, Shubaki coordinated the purchase and subsequent shipment of the arms from Iran, and also channeled money from his office to Fatah terror cells, in both cases acting on direct orders from then-Palestinian Authority chairman Arafat. When he was arrested, Shubaki told his Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) interrogators that Arafat had diverted millions of dollars in international aid and taxes transferred to the PA by Israel to purchase large quantities of weapons and fund Palestinian terrorism. Shubaki was apprehended during an IDF raid on the Jericho prison where he was being held together with Ahmed Sa'adat - leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - and the other assassins of former Israeli tourism minister Rehavam Ze'evi. He revealed that several senior Palestinian officials were involved in the allocation of the money for military purposes. Among them was Jibril Rajoub - head of the PA Preventative Security Force in the West Bank - who together with the other officials received payments for his part in the weapons purchases. In 2001, Shubaki said, Iran offered to assist the Palestinians in training soldiers, providing weapons and funding the construction of weapon factories. One of the largest arms deals struck between Iran and the Palestinians was the attempt to smuggle over 50 tons of armaments aboard the Karine A. In addition to the light weaponry used by the Palestinians at the time, the Karine A also carried Sagger guided anti-tank missiles used by Hizbullah against Israeli armor in Lebanon, LAW anti-tank missiles, long-range mortars, and mines. Also on board the vessel were short and long-range Katyushas, including 122 mm rockets with a range of some 20 kilometers. The ship was intercepted by naval commandos without firing a shot, some 500 nautical miles from Israel in an operation codenamed Noah's Ark. Yaakov Katz contributed to this report