Investigation shows prisoner didn't warn about '06 bombing

Report Sunday said IPS got advance notice of Tel Aviv shwarma restaurant attack.

tel aviv bombing 2  (photo credit: Zaka (Nati Shapira))
tel aviv bombing 2
(photo credit: Zaka (Nati Shapira))
An Israel Prisons Service hurry-up probe revealed Sunday that despite media claims, they had not received warnings from a prisoner in advance of an April 2006 bombing in Tel Aviv. On Sunday morning, Army Radio reported that a prisoner claimed to have offered advance warning of the bombing at the Rosh Ha'ir Shawarma restaurant in which 12 people were killed and over 60 wounded. Following the report, IPS officers decided to conduct an internal inquiry led by Asst.-Warden Dr. Yossi Guber, the IPS's internal oversight officer, and former intelligence officer Dep.-Warden Rami Sela, a member of Guber's staff. The two were instructed to present their findings by the end of the day Sunday. By 5 p.m., the IPS trumpeted their findings, claiming that the prisoner himself had admitted that his claims were false, and that he had simply made up information. Guber and Sela gathered intelligence and administrative documents, rules, regulations and orders involved in intelligence work and met with intelligence officers related to the matter and met with the IPS's head intelligence officer. According to internal documentation, on March 22, 2006, police received intelligence information from a criminal prisoner that a person by the name of Omer Lamem El-Ahmad was engaged in recruiting citizens to carry out terror attacks against Israeli targets. IPS officers said Sunday that when the prisoner was questioned by intelligence officers he was unable to offer specific details to strengthen his claims. "The information was very general and in the course of his questioning he contradicted himself a number of times and was unable to explain where he got the information from," one IPS officer said Sunday. They added that Guber's probe revealed that other than the information received on that date - which was later passed on to the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) - the IPS received no additional tip-offs on a similar subject. Following the Tel Aviv bombing one month later, IPS officials said, the same prisoner "spread rumors in the jail that he gave information to the intelligence officer in the prison that was about the terror attack in Tel Aviv." Following that the prisoner was brought back for questioning. Guber said that in the transcript of that meeting, the prisoner said, "I am sorry for what I have done, I'll tell you what I did. They said to me in my cell block - make some noise and it will help you." The prisoner also claimed that he spoke with a Shin Bet agent, "Yoni," and said that he had information that he needed to relate to him. The internal IPS check also revealed that the Shin Bet never found a person with the name of Omer Lamem El-Ahmad.