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Palestinian Government Senior Official Arrested for Shooting Attacks

May 20, 2019 News

A Palestinian government official was arrested for shooting attacks on busses. M-16 used in the attacks. Photo courtesy of the ISA.

A senior official in the Palestinian Authority Prisoners Ministry was arrested by Israel earlier this year along with a partner for “a series of shooting attacks,” and he even used a vehicle given to him by the Palestinian government to carry out the terrorism, according to the Israel Security Agency (ISA). An ISA press release on Monday said the official, Zakariya Zbeidi, worked with an Arab partner who not only holds an Israeli ID card, but was an Israeli attorney and member of the Bar Association. The partner, Tarek Barghut, also worked with the PA Prisoners Ministry as an attorney.

“That a senior Palestinian Authority Prisoners Ministry official and an Israeli attorney who worked for the Prisoners Ministry carried out severe terrorist attacks while using an official PA vehicle is very grave,” a senior ISA official was quoted in the press release as saying.

The ISA press release said the two were arrested in February following the foiling of another attack.

Zbeidi was granted amnesty in 2007 in what the press release termed the “fugitives agreement,” under the condition that he not conduct violence or illegal activity and walk away from his terror cell. According to a report from Haaretz at the time, the amnesty deal was a gesture to PA President Mahmoud Abbas in an effort to improve relations with Israel.

Haaretz said Zbeidi was one of the most wanted terrorists among the Fatah political group in 2007, before he was effectively granted amnesty for his crimes along with almost 200 others.

However, following the violation of his no-terrorism pledge, Zbeidi will face all charges, including prior ones.

“Zbeidi brazenly and violently violated this commitment and was involved in carrying out several shooting attacks,” said the ISA press release on Monday. “He will be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law, including for previous activity, and will be tried for all of the various terrorist attacks in which he has been involved.”

Zbeidi and Barghut launched three shooting attacks across the latter months of 2018 and beginning of 2019, targeting busses. A planned fourth attack was the one foiled shortly before their arrest.

Security forces managed to obtain an M-16 machine gun and magazines used in the attacks as part of the investigation. The ISA senior official quoted in the press release noted that some of the Israeli operation against the terror cell included work in the de facto Palestinian capital city of Ramallah.

Said the ISA senior official, “Intelligence and operational activity by the security forces immediately after the attacks and in the ensuing weeks, including in Ramallah, is what led to the exposure of the cell and the foiling of other terrorist attacks in the future.”

(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, May 20, 2019)

 

 

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