The Shin Bet on Monday issued a press release regarding the busting of a terrorist cell involved in a series of shooting attacks carried out in the Ramallah area. The hunt for the cell was conducted over the past few months by the Shin Bet, the IDF and the Israel Police.
Intelligence gathered by the Shin Bet pointed to the involvement of PA residents Zakariya Zubeidi and Tareq Barghut in a series of attacks in the Beit El area. The two were arrested on February 27, as they were about to carry out yet another attack, which was thwarted by the security forces who had been laid out in the area.
Zakariya Zubeidi, 43, lives in the Jenin refugee camp and is a senior official in the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Prisoners.
Zakariya Zubeidi is also a senior terrorist operative in the Judea and Samaria regions and one of the terrorist operatives included in the “wanted agreement” of 2007. Underlying this agreement was the explicit commitment of the terrorist operatives to cease all violent and illegal activities and to abandon the terror infrastructures to which they belonged.
Zakariya Zubeidi broke his word (imagine that) “flagrantly and violently” according to the Shin Bet (they were as surprised as you are). According to the deal he signed 12 years ago, should he return to a life of terrorism, he would be subject to trial not only for his new crimes but also for the crimes of which he was absolved in 2007.
Therefore, Zubeidi was now indicted for all the terrorist activities in which he was involved in the past and more recently.
It appears the Shin Bet is not so much angry as disappointed.
Tareq Bargut, 44, a resident of Ramallah, is an Israeli citizen, an Israeli attorney member of the Israel Bar Association. He represented security prisoners in Israeli and Judea and Samaria courts until his arrest. Barghut was also employed as an attorney in the PA Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs.
The Shin Bet investigation revealed that the two carried out two shooting attacks, on November 7, 2018 and January 5, 2019, against buses traveling on the route adjacent to Beit El.
According to the Shin Bet investigation, the two men used Zakariya Zubeidi’s vehicle in the attacks – a vehicle he had received from the Palestinian Authority as part of his job in the prisoners ministry.
As part of their preparations for the attacks, the two carried out inspections of the area designated for the attack, monitored the targets for the attack, and collected additional information.
It was also revealed that the two carried out another shooting attack on December 27, 2018, during which they opened fire on a bus that went up to Psagot, but they were unable to hit it because of weather conditions. They planned to carry out another attack, on February 19, on the same Psagot bus.
According to the Shin Bet investigation, Tareq Barghut admitted that he carried out another shooting attack, on November 19, 2016, at a police car in the Zeitim crossing near Jerusalem, which caused physical damage.
In the course of the investigation, the M16 weapons and the magazines used in the attacks were handed over to the security forces.
A senior Shin Bet official stated: “This is a serious incident involving a senior official in the Palestinian Prisoners’ Ministry and an Israeli lawyer working in the Palestinian Prisoners’ Office, who carried out severe terrorist attacks using a Palestinian Authority vehicle that served Zakariya as part of his job in the prisoners’ office.
“The intelligence and operational activities of the security forces, immediately after the attacks and in the weeks that followed, including within the territory of Ramallah, led to the exposure of the cell and the prevention of serious terrorist attacks in the future.”
Severe indictments against the two were filed by the Judge Advocate General’s Office.