IDF nabs Park Hotel attack terrorist

Man is head of Hamas armed wing in Tulkarm; PA officer who confessed to terror attacks also arrested.

Bethlehem arrest 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Bethlehem arrest 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
The Border Police's elite YAMAM Counter-terror squad swept into a village in the southern Hebron Hills early Tuesday morning and arrested Muhammad Harwish, a senior Hamas terrorist and one of the planners of the 2002 Park Hotel Seder night suicide bombing. Harwish, head of Hamas's military wing in Tulkarm, was apprehended along with his personal aide, Adnan Samara. The two were transferred to the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) for questioning. Acting on precise intelligence, a force comprised of YAMAM officers and soldiers from the IDF's elite undercover Duvdevan unit surrounded a home in the village of Zurif and captured the two wanted men. Harwish had been wanted by Israel since the beginning of the Second Intifada, in 2000. In 2002, he was involved in dispatching a suicide bomber to the Park Hotel in Netanya, in which 30 people were killed. In March 2004, Harouish was wounded by IDF gunfire and was treated in a hospital in Ramallah. After his discharge from hospital he continued anti-Israeli terror activity and was involved in the planning of a suicide attack against Israel that was thwarted. He was later arrested by Palestinian Authority security forces and jailed in Jericho. In 2006, he was released from prison and returned to Tulkarm where he later became head of the Hamas military wing in the city. Samara, captured alongside Harouish, had been released one year ago from an Israeli prison, where he was held for his involvement in establishing terror cells with Harouish in Tulkarm. Security officials also announced Tuesday that in July and August, the Shin Bet and IDF arrested five Fatah-Tanzim operatives in the village of Silwad near Ramallah, including an active member of PA security forces and a Palestinian who lived in the US. The group were involved in a number of shooting attacks near Route 60, which passes near the village, the army said.