January 7, 2003
A television correspondent who reported that Yasser Arafat’s Fatah group
claimed responsibility for the double suicide bombing in Tel Aviv on
Sunday has been arrested by Palestinian Authority security forces,
according to the Jerusalem Post.
Al-Jazeera reporter Seif al Din Shahin said his information came from a
Fatah activist called Abu Kusai who claimed the group’s terrorist wing, Al
Aqsa’s Martyrs’ Brigades, conducted the bombings that killed 22 people and
wounded more than 100.
The Brigades published an official claim of responsibility on its website,
which included names of the bombers.
While Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Authority condemned the attack, Yasser
took responsibility for the attack, identifying the two bombers as Nablus
residents Burak Hilsa and Samar A-Nuri.
“The two martyrs managed to cross all the Zionist army roadblocks and
reached the heart of Tel Aviv. One blew his pure body up at the old
bus station, and the other blew himself up in another nearby street,” the
The statement said that it was a double martyrdom operation that killed
the highest number of “the Zionist occupiers on the land of Palestine.”
The group vowed to continue suicide bombing attacks, adding that the
“would be a revenge for the massacres carried out by Sharon against our
Palestinian officials, however, were outraged by Shahin’s report Sunday
At 2 a.m., about 20 members of the Palestinian Authority’s General
Intelligence raided the offices of the Qatari television station while
Shahin was working. The 34-year-old reporter was taken to a detention
center in Gaza City where he is undergoing questioning.
Although the bombings occurred in Tel Aviv, Arabic News described the
victims, which included many foreigners, as “Israel settlers.”
Palestinian security officials said the correspondent was apprehended on
direct instructions from Arafat’s headquarters in Ramallah, according to a
report from Jerusalem by the Calgary Herald.
Arafat funds his Fatah group, the ruling party in the West Bank and Gaza,
from foreign aid, including contributions from the European Union.
The officials accused Shahin of “inflicting damage to the interests and
reputation of the Palestinian people and their struggle” by reporting a
telephone conversation with a member of Al-Aqsa who claimed responsibility
for the attack, the Post said.
Shahin said in a hurried telephone interview that he was inside a room
where a General Intelligence officer made “a strange request, to provide
the source of the phone call to Al-Jazeera,” according to the Herald.
“I believe the decision to arrest me is a political one,” he said. “I’m
being treated well.”
However, lawyers representing human-rights organizations were barred from
seeing the correspondent.
In a statement, the Foreign Press Association called for the immediate
release of Shahin, “who, from all indications, was arrested for doing his
job as a journalist.”
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights called the arrest “a serious
breach of freedom of the press.”
Shahin’s colleagues said it was his first arrest, but noted that the
Palestinian Authority had regularly harassed journalists working for
al-Jazeera and other independent media in the West Bank and Gaza Strip,
the Jerusalem newspaper said.
Below is the full text of the announcement by the Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade
taking responsibility for the attack. The announcement was published on
their official website.
“In the name of the merciful and compassionate Allah
The Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade
The Military Wing of the Fatah Movement
Allah is Great, Allah is Great, Allah is Great
Military Announcement of the Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade
The Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade claims full responsibility for the two
suicide operations in the heart of Tel Aviv.
In the continuation of the struggle and death in order to follow the path
of Allah, with the help of Allah and with the faith in the calling of the
holy Jihad one of the suicide units, which included the two suicide
attackers – Burak Rifat Abed El-Rahman Halifa and Samer Imad Muhammad
Ibrahim El-Nuri – from city of Nablus, succeeded this evening (5 Dec.
2003) to infiltrate the Zionist roadblocks and to enter the heart of the
confiscator [of Muslim rights] in Tel Aviv and carried out two consecutive
The first suicide attacker blew his pure body up in the
street was full of people and immediately following the second suicide
attacker blew himself up on an adjacent road. These suicide attacks cause
a large number of fatalities and casualties in the center of the Zionist
occupation of our land.
We swear before our people [the Palestinians] that additional suicide
operations will occur [soon]
The Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade – Saying and doing, promising and building
The People’s Army
The Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade
Palestine, 5 January 2003.”