Written by IICC
Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
March 10, 2008
Update, details and photos from the terrorist shooting at Yeshivat Mercaz Ha’Rav in Jerusalem leaving eight students dead.
The terrorist who shot them was an Arab living in East Jerusalem who carried an Israeli identity card. The identity of the organization behind the attack is currently unknown.
Top: The scene of the attack. Lower left: A blood-soaked prayer shawl. Lower right: A blood-stained Bible (Israeli Government Press Office, March 6, 2008)
1. On March 6 a Palestinian terrorist armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle attacked Yeshivat Mercaz Ha'Rav in Jerusalem , a center of religious Zionism. He shot eight students to death and wounded ten, four of them critically. So far the Palestinian terrorist organizations and Hezbollah have avoided claiming responsibility for the attack.
2. The terrorist who carried out the attack was Ala'a Hashem Abu Adhim , a resident of Jabel Mukaber, southeast of Jerusalem . He was a driver who held an ordinary Israeli identity card, making it easy for him to move around in Israeli territory. In our assessment the site of the attack was not chosen randomly and the terrorist's preparations included collecting information about the yeshiva's daily routine.
3. It was the second mass-casualty attack since the beginning of 2008. The first was carried out in Dimona by Hamas suicide bomber on February 4 and killed one resident of the city and wounded a number of others. 1 The last time such an attack was carried out in Jerusalem was on September 22, 2004 , at the French Hill Junction, when a female Fatah suicide bomber detonated an explosive device in an attack on border policemen, killing two and wounding a total of 17 people who were in the vicinity.
4. A little before 20:45 ( 8:45 p.m. ) the terrorist entered the Yeshivat Mercaz Ha'Rav building in the Kiryat Moshe neighborhood at the entrance to Jerusalem . 2 He opened fire with a Kalashnikov assault rifle which he had managed to smuggle into the building. First he shot two students near the entrance and from there went to the library and the main study hall, where there were about 80 students at the time. He opened fire and murdered three of them in the main hall. Another student was shot near the office of the yeshiva director and a short time later two more students were shot. Eye witnesses reported that the students hid behind bookcases and that the terrorist sought them out and shot them.
5. An officer in the paratrooper corps, Captain David Shapira, who lives near the yeshiva, heard the shots and ran to the building where he shot and killed the terrorist. Eight students were murdered and ten wounded, four of them critically.
6. Immediately after the attack the Israeli security forces detained eight men suspected of helping the terrorist. According to the chief inspector of the Jerusalem district, the attack had been planned before the IDF operation in the Gaza Strip and the terrorist had observed the site of the attack over a long period of time (Ynet, March 8).
7. The murdered boys were:
1) Yochai Lifshitz, 18, a resident of Jerusalem .
2) Yehonatan Yitzhak Eldar, 16, a resident of Shiloh .
3) Yehonadav Haim Hirschfeld, 19, a resident of Kohav Hashahar.
4) Neria Cohen, 15, a resident of Jerusalem .
5) Segev Peniel Avihail, 15, a resident of Neveh Daniel.
6) Avraham David Moses, 16, a resident of Efrat.
7) Roi Roth, 18, a resident of Elkana.
8) Doron Meherete, 26, a resident of Ashdod .
The Terrorist's Identity
8. The terrorist who carried out the attack was Alaa Hashem Abu Adhim , 20, a resident of Jabel Mukaber, southeast of Jerusalem , who held an ordinary Israeli identity card.
He worked driving students around Jerusalem (according to unverified reports, he had also worked as a driver for Yeshivat Mercaz Ha'Rav ).
His family erected a mourning tent over which they flew Hamas and Hezbollah flags which were later taken down in compliance with Israeli police demands.
Upper Right: The terrorist who carried out the attack
(Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades Website, March 9).
Upper Left: Weapons found in his possession (Israeli Foreign Ministry, March 6).
9. So far it is not clear which terrorist organization was behind the attack . Immediately after the attack a number of groups claimed responsibility:
1) The Free Galilee Brigades – the Imad Moughnieh and Gaza Martyrs Squad (Al-Manar TV, March 6), a front group for Israeli Arabs, possibly linked to Hezbollah. 3 The Ma'an News Agency reported that the attack was a joint action carried out by the Free Galilee Brigades and Hamas, but so far the Brigades are unwilling to expose the organization which carried out the attack with them (Ma'an News Agency, March 7).
2) Hamas issued contradictory reports as to its involvement in the attack. A senior figure anonymously announced that a Hamas operative carried out the attack (Reuters, March 7). Abu Obeida , a spokeman for Hamas's terrorist-operative Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades did not take official responsibility for the attack, saying that the announcement might be delayed for security reasons. He noted that responsibility for the attack in Dimona had been claimed by the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades more than a full day later (Radio Sawt al-Aqsa, March 6; Al-Jazeera TV, March 7).
Hamas's Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades spokesman Abu Obeida (lower left) refuses to claim responsibility for the terrorist attack:
“So far we have not announced
that we claim responsibility for [the attack]”
(Al-Jazeera TV, March 6).
The Palestinian Authority
10. PA chairman Abu Mazen half-heartedly and laconically condemned the attack and linked it to Israel 's actions against the Palestinians. According to an announcement, he said that he “opposed all activities which harm civilians, Palestinian or Israeli” (Wafa News Agency, March 6).
Residents of the Gaza Strip
11. When the attack became known, Hamas's Radio Sawt al-Aqsa reported spontaneous processions of Gazans throughout the Strip eager to share their joy with one another. Shots were fired in the air to exhibit their extreme happiness, wounding nine civilians (Radio Sawt al-Aqsa, March 6).
The Gaza Strip rejoices (Al-Manar TV, March 6).
12.Hamas's reactions were the following:
1) Hamas spokesman Ayman Tahe said that Israel had to pay the price for its attacks in the Gaza Strip. He said that the attack proved that the “Palestinian resistance” [i.e., terrorism] was active in Judea and Samaria despite coordination between the Palestinian security forces and Israel (Palestine-info Website, March 6).
2) Deputy head of Hamas's “political” bureau, Mussa Abu Marzuq , said that the attack was a “natural reaction to the crimes of the occupation” (Palestine-info Website, March 8) He refused to confirm or deny Hamas's responsibility for the attack.
3) Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that the action proved that the “resistance” continued in all its forms, including suicide bombing attacks (Palestine-info Website, March 8).
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad
Poster commemorating the terrorist (Saraya al-Quds Website, March 9).
13. The PIJ's Website issued a poster to commemorate the terrorist, reading: “thousands of hearts accompany you as if you were a groom on your wedding night [as you rise] to the heights [i.e., paradise]. [Because you were taken from us] many tears fall from the sky. As we watch your coffin being carried, it quenches [our thirst] like fame abounding in honor. The Jerusalem Battalions bless your heroic action in the occupied city of Jerusalem , which led to the deaths of ten Zionists and the wounding of many more, and which was carried out by Alaa Hashem Abu Adhim (Saraya al-Quds Website, March 9).
14. Hezbollah spokesmen and media praised the attack, calling it “excellent” and “ creative.” However, they avoided claiming responsibility for it and even denied the organization's involvement. Leaks were made to the Palestinian media that Hezbollah was involved but they have not been verified.
Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV reporting the attack:
“The action was excellent in every respect” (Al-Manar TV, March 6).
15. Jordanian information minister Nasser Judeh clearly stated that Jordan opposed operations which harmed civilians. However, he added that the action was similar to those carried out by Israel in the Gaza Strip. 4
16. The Jordanian interior ministry forbade the uncle of the terrorist who carried out the attack to erect a mourning tent in Rabat Amman. Relatives and members of the Jordanian opposition expressed their dissatisfaction (Jordanian News Agency, March 7).
SOURCE:IICC Published on Right Side News with full permissions from IICC
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1 For further information see our February 5 Bulletin entitled “Suicide bombing attack in the Dimona commercial center kills one city resident and wounds many” CLICK HERE
2 Yeshivat Mercaz Ha'Rav was founded by Israel 's first Chief Rabbi, Avraham Yitzhak Hacohem Kook in 1924 as a spiritual center which combined Bible study with the rebirth of the People of Israel. Today it is one of the largest Bible-study centers in Israel and a stronghold of the religious Zionist movement. Several hundred students live and study there, most of them between the ages of 18 and 30.
3 The Free Galilee Brigades claimed responsibility for attacking two guards at the Ateret Cohanim yeshiva in the Old City in Jerusalem on August 10, 2007 . In June 2004 indictments were handed down for five members of a Free Galilee Brigades squad, residents of Kafr Cana and Kafr Manda in the Galilee . The five were accused of conspiring to carry out serious crimes, terrorist organization activities and attempted kidnapping. They were apprehended while shooting at a border police patrol car at the Rimon Junction in the Lower Galilee . The head of the squad, Muhammad Khatib, was killed by Israeli security forces fire in April 2004. It was later learned that Khatib was behind the murder of Israeli soldier Oleg Shaihat in July 2003. In July 2004 an IDF soldier was stabbed at the Golani Junction, carried out by Muhammad Khatib's bother in retaliation for his brother's death (Ynet, July 2004).
4 The comparison is false and misleading because during the operation in the Gaza Strip, Israel did not deliberately harm civilians.