Palestinian commander investigating Gaza bombing was its likely perpetrator
Israel Law Center Press Release, December 18, 2003.
Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center – Director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner has written
to United States Attorney General John Ashcroft alerting him to the fact the
Palestinian Security Service commander assigned to investigate the October
bombing attack on American personnel in Gaza was very likely the terrorist who
Gaza Commander Col. Rashid Abu Shabak’s has been entrusted by the
Palestinian Authority (PA) and the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation
with hunting down the terrorist cell responsible for the October 15, 2003
bombing which left three Americans dead.
The three Americans, John Branchizio, 37, of Texas, John Linde Jr., 30, of
Missouri, and Mark Parsons, 31, of New Jersey, were security personnel
guarding a convoy of diplomatic vehicles which was attacked by Palestinian
Arab terrorists who detonated a powerful roadside bomb at the Beit Hanoun
junction in Gaza. The Americans were visiting Gaza to interview candidates for
Darshan-Leitner’s letter accuses the Palestinian commander of being the
mastermind behind numerous terror attacks perpetrated by Yasser Arafat’s
Fatah organization in Gaza. Shurat HaDin urges the Department of Justice to
investigate Abu Shabak’s involvement in prior roadside bombings.
Not surprisingly, there have been no arrests made by the Palestinians in the
According to the Shurat HaDin letter, Abu Shabak, a protיgי of
Palestinian leader Mohammed Dahlan, has an extensive terrorist past. Abu
Shabak, along with Dahlan are the leading suspects in several other Gaza terror
* On April 1, 1997, Abu Shabak is alleged by Israeli intelligence agencies to
have sent Palestinian suicide bombers to target two school buses outside
Netzarim and Kfar Darom in Gaza. Then, Chief of Staff Amnon Lipkin-Shahak
identified the terrorists as police officers under Dahlan and Abu Shabak’s direct
* On October 18, 2000, a busload of 40 Israeli women and children was
attacked by gunfire and bombs near the Gush Katif junction in Gaza as it
passed by a Palestinian police station. Israel Radio reported that Israeli
intelligence has concluded that Dahlan and Abu Shabak were behind the attack.
* On November 20, 2000, Dahlan and Abu Shabak ordered the roadside
bombing of a school bus outside the Kfar Darom community. Two adults on the
bus were killed, and nine other Israelis were injured, including five children.
Several of the injured are American citizens. Israeli security services have
identified Dahlan and Abu Shabak as the main suspects in the attack.
Shurat HaDin has brought several civil actions against Dahlan and Abu Shabak
on behalf of Israeli terror victims alleging that the pair have organized a network
of terrorists which perpetrate attacks in the Gaza region.
In her letter, Darshan-Leitner writes: “It is a disgraceful that the individual
assigned by the Palestinian Authority to investigate the murders of Branchizio,
Linde and Parsons is himself a leading terrorist suspected of numerous other
roadside bombings in Gaza. If the United States is sincere about making arrests
then it must not tolerate Rashid Abu Shabak heading up this crucial inquiry.
The similarities between the October 15th roadside bombing and the roadside
bombing of the Kfar Darom school bus in November 2000 cannot be ignored.
We urge the Department of Justice to initiate its own investigation of Abu
Shabak and his role in prior Gaza terror attacks, some of which have seriously
injured American citizens.”