Background Information on Senior Prisoners in Jericho

(March 14, 2006)


In January-February 2002, in the wake of the assassination of Minister Rehavam Ze’evi, the Palestinian Authority arrested five members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and placed them in custody at the Mukat’a in Ramallah. In May 2002, under the context of an international agreement, the five were transferred to the P.A. prison in Jericho, where they were imprisoned under American and British supervision. The five arrested in 2002 consist of two of the leaders of the PFLP: Ahmed Sa’adat, Director of the PFLP, and Ahed Ghoulmi, Commander of the ‘Legion of Abu Ali Mustafa’, the military wing of the PFLP in the West Bank; and the three members who were involved in the assassination of Rehavam Ze’evi, Majdi Rimawi, Basel al Amar, and Hamdi Qur’an. 2002 also saw the arrest of Fuad Shobaki, who was responsible for large scale weapons smuggling into the P.A., including the smuggling of the ‘Karine A’; Shobaki was imprisoned in Jericho together with the members of the PFLP under the terms of the same international agreement.

During the length of their incarceration in Jericho, Ahmed Sa’adat and Ahed Ghoulmi continued to conduct and direct the PFLP from within the prison walls. Their location in prison became a site of pilgrimage for members of the PFLP and others identifying with the two. These visits provided an opportunity to recruit individuals to the organization, carry out ideological indoctrination, and give out orders for activity in the field.

Ahmed Sa’adat Yousef A-Rasul

Served as Director of the PFLP during the assassination of Minister Ze’evi

Originally from Al Birah, born 1953. Sa’adat was arrested six times from 1976 until the end of 1993, and beginning 1994 became ‘wanted’ because of militant activity.

In December 1996, Sa’adat dispatched a terrorist cell made up of Ramallah-based PFLP members that fired from their moving car at another car containing an Israeli family, in the Ramallah area. The results of the attack were the deaths of a mother and son, with three more children injured.

Sa’adat served as the commander of the military wing of the PFLP until the death of PFLP Director Abu Ali Mustafa on August 27, 2001. At that point, Sa’adat became the Director.

In his position overseeing military operations and terrorist attacks, members of the PFLP carried out the following major terrorist attacks:

1. February 2001 – Placing a car bomb in the Meah She’arim neighborhood of Jerusalem, 10 Israelis injured.

2. April 2001 – Placing a car bomb in an industrial zone in Or Yehuda. 8 Israelis injured.

3. May 2001 – Placing a car bomb in central Jerusalem in the Russian Compound neighborhood. 5 Israelis injured.

4. June 2001 – Bomb attack in the industrial zone in Atarot.

5. July 2001 – Placing 2 car bombs in Yehud. 6 Israelis injured.

6. July 2001 – Placing a bomb inside a watermelon, on a bus headed for the Malha mall in Jerusalem.

After being selected as Director of the PFLP, Sa’adat continued to emphasize his and the PFLP’s commitment to continue carrying out terrorist attacks, without any regard or attention paid to agreements between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. On October 17, 2001, the organization carried out the assassination of Minister Rehavam Ze’evi in the Hyatt Hotel in Jerusalem.

In the last elections of January 25, 2006, Sa’adat was elected a member of the Palestinian parliament, on the slate of the PFLP. Since the elections, Sa’adat and other top officials of the PFLP have been negotiating intensively with Hamas regarding joining the Hamas government. The disputes between Hamas and the PFLP are based in a different approach to the Palestinian ‘street’, but the two sides are of the same mind regarding their relations with the State of Israel and the continuation of the armed struggle.

Ahed Yousef Musa Ghoulmi

Chief Planner of the assassination of Minister Ze’evi

Born in 1968, originally from Ramallah, a veteran of the PFLP, who was before his arrest wanted because of his militant record, in which context he recruited and trained members to carry out terrorist attacks. Starting in October 2000, Ghoulmi served as a senior commander in the military wing of the PFLP, responsible for briefing and directing cells that carried out attacks in Ramallah, Shechem, and Jerusalem.

Since January 2001, Ghoulmi was directly responsible for a number of bombing attacks, including those in Yehud and Jerusalem, mentioned above.

Since the death of Abu Ali Mustafa, Ghoulmi has served as the head of the military branch of the PFLP, replacing Ahmed Sa’adat. He served as a chief planner in the assassination of Minister Rehavam Ze’evi, and after the assassination fled to Shechem, from where he took part in the planning of the suicide bombing of a pizzeria in the industrial zone of Karnei Shomron, in which a boy and girl were killed and 30 others injured.

Ghoulmi is also directly connected to a number of other terrorist attacks carried out by members of the PFLP, including:

1. October 1993 – the murder of two Israeli hikers in Wadi Kelt.

2. March 1993 – the murder of an Israeli in Jerusalem.

Majdi Hazin Yousef Rahima/Rimawi

Commander of the terrorist cell that assassinated Minister Ze’evi

Born 1965, originally from Ramallah, a senior member of the PFLP. During 2001 he worked alongside Ahed Ghoulmi, and was involved in sending a number of car bombs to Jerusalem and Yehud. Majdi sent those who carried out the attack in Yehud, and armed them with the bombs which they then placed in cars in Yehud. As was said, 6 Israelis were injured in the attack.

Majdi served as the direct commander who recruited, activated, and sent the cell that assassinated Minister Rehavam Ze’evi.

Hamdi Qur’an

One of the assassins of Minister Ze’evi

Born 1974, originally from Al Bireh/Ramallah, recruited to the PFLP at the beginning of October 2000 by Majdi Rimawi, who taught him to carry out terrorist attacks in Israel. In July 2001 he received bombs from Majdi, which he then placed in a parked car in Yehud, causing the injury of 6 civilians.

On October 17th 2001, at the order of Majdi Rimawi and Ahed Ghoulmi, he and Basel Al Amar departed for the Hyatt Hotel in Jerusalem, and set an ambush for Minister Ze’evi at the entrance to his hotel room. Qur’an was the one who pulled the trigger and shot the Minister three times.

Basel A-Rahman Ahmad Al Amar

Member of the cell that assassinated Minister Ze’evi

Born 1976, originally from Beit Rima, a member of the PFLP for several years. Amar acted as the guard and alert at the entrance to the stairwell of the hotel at the time when Qur’an shot Minister Ze’evi, as the minister entered his room.

Fuad hajdi Mahmud Shobaki

Involved in the attempted smuggling of weapons into the Palestinian Authority on the ship ‘Karin A’.

Born 1942, originally from the Gaza Strip. Until September 2001 held VIP identification since his formal position was as the one responsible for the financial matters of P.A. general security forces.

In the context of his position, he was directly responsible for and involved in the activation and funding of cells to carry out terrorist attacks, purchase weapons and ammunition – including weapons from different countries – and smuggling those into autonomous regions of the P.A. Among his other activities, he was involved in the attempted smuggling of weapons on the ‘Karin A’ ship. Shobaki was imprisoned in the Jericho prison along with the PFLP members, under the same agreement of international surveillance.


Source: Consulate General of Israel in New York