Monday, March 31, 2003

Reason #874 for the US to stop paying its UN dues.

Israeli official: UN personnel and vehicles used by terrorists throughout Mideast
Margot Dudkevitch Mar. 31, 2003

Terrorist organizations in Palestinian controlled areas as well as in Syria and Lebanon take advantage of United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA) workers and their vehicles to transport arms and terrorists to perpetrate attacks and coordinating activities between them.

A document drawn up by defense establishment officials that reached the Jerusalem Post focuses on UNWRA employee Nahed Rashid Ahmed Attalah, 38, a resident of Jabaliyah in the Gaza Strip who was arrested last August by security forces as he returned from Egypt.

The report also notes that Palestinian terrorists in Israeli custody admitted to security officials to using UNWRA facilities, equipment and vehicles to assist in carrying out terror attacks knowing that UNWRA personnel are able to travel in Israel, Palestinian Authority areas as well as in Lebanon, Syria and elsewhere without being subjected to any checks by security officials.

Attalah, the document says, is currently on trial on eight counts that include aiding terrorist activities affiliated with the Fatah's Popular Resistance Committee (PRC) and using United Nations vehicles and the free travel permit he was entrusted with to facilitate terrorist organizations, conspiring to trade in arms and assisting in attempted premeditated murder and possessing illegal arms. He was indicted last September and in February this year the IDF military court of appeals decided to extend his detention until the end of the legal procedures against him.

Attalah first began working for UNWRA in 1987 as a director of food supplies for Gaza Strip refugees. In order to carry out the job he was provided with a United Nations vehicle and issued a United Nations laissez-passer that entitled him to unrestricted travel in the region. According to the report he constantly used his vehicle and permit to assist PRC terrorist activities against Israel while maintaining close contacts with PFLP officials in Lebanon.

According to the report, Attalah used UN vehicles to transport terrorists to sites of planned attacks and used his travel permit issued to enable him to conduct official UN business in Syria and Lebanon where he made contact with senior officials affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in order to arrange the financing of arms for the PRC. He admitted to investigators "inter alia" that he used his car to transport terrorists and arms.

According to the document in June 2002, he drove two armed terrorists affiliated with the PRC to the Karni area in the Gaza Strip where they planned to perpetrate an attack against an IDF position there. The two told Attallah that after they completed their mission they would contact him so he could pick them up and take them home. For unclear reasons the attack was not carried out and Attalah took them home in his UN vehicle.

Later the same month, he drove two PRC members and assisted them to transfer a gas cylinder that was hidden in a citrus grove and would be later used in a terrorist attack. At the end of July he drove two PRC members to the Beit Lahiya area where they planned to perpetrate an attack. The two had in their posession three RPG bombs and three plastic pipes, which they possibly intended to use to improvise rocket launchers and the bombs as rockets.

Attalah dropped the two off and later picked them up after they called him and said their mission had been accomplished. Attalah told investigators that he was repeatedly asked by PRC officials to drive them in his UN car as it was never subjected to IDF inspections. Attalah also made use of his UN issued laissez-passer to travel to Egypt, Lebanon and Syria where he contacted PFLP officials in order to receive funds and transfer arms for the PRC terrorist activities.

In January 2002 he met with Samih Razeq known as Abu Rami a senior PFLP official who was involved in activating terrorists in the Gaza Strip. Attalah returned to the Gaza but maintained contact with Abu Rami via telephone conversations and on the Internet. Because of his links with Abu Rami he was contacted by PRC official Mahmoud Karmut (Abu Sa'ad) who asked him to request funds for the PRC to purchase arms.

Attalah carried out the instructions and told investigators that he understood from his conversation with Abu Rami that the latter would check with PFLP or Hizbullah officials. In August 2002 Abu Rami told him that the funds were not in his posession and it was decided that Attalah would travel to Egypt where they would check on the transfer. Security forces arrested Attalah as he returned from Egypt via the Rafah crossing to the Gaza Strip.


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