Israeli Arab Allegedly Participated In Deadly Bombing of Tel Aviv Nightclub

Suspect Reportedly Exploited His Israeli Identification And Knowledge
To Drive Suicide Bomber to Target

Broadcast March 24th, 2005 on


Suspect Ashraf Kaisi Held by Police

A twenty-six year old Israeli Arab citizen from Baka al Garbiyah has been indicted in a Tel Aviv Court for helping to plan and carry out the suicide bombing of the Tel Aviv nightclub last month. The bomb blast murdered five Israelis and wounded fifty others who were queing up to enter the Stage nightclub along the city's popular Mediterranean promenade.

David Essing reports:

The news has sent shock waves through Israel - an Israeli Arab citizen, 26 year old Ashraf Kaisi played an active role in the deadly suicide bombing. The suspect first lived with his family in the Israeli town of Hedera where he had many Jewish friends and acquaintances. At the age of fourteen his family moved north to the Arab town of Baka al Garbiyah. Kaisi was arrested one day after he reportedly drove suicide bomber Abdullah Badran to blow up the Stage nightclub on the night of February 25th.

The suspect was said to have made contact with a cell of the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization operating out of the west Bank town of Tul Kerm. The terrorists asked Kaisi to use his Israeli identity card and license plates to transport a suicide bomber inside Israel for an attack. He was offered money for his help. The suspect not only agreed to cooperate he also was said to have selected the 'best' target for the suicide bombing.

When Islamic Jihad first proposed the town of Netanya on the Mediterranean Sea for the suicide bombing, Kaisi said it was not a good idea because bad weather there often kept people at home. Islamic Jihad then suggested Kaisi's old hometown of Hedera; the suspect turned thumbs down because he still had relatives and friends living there. Kaisi then told the terrorists that he was familiar with Tel Aviv's promenade where nightclubs and restaurants were packed at night. Islamic Jihad agreed.

The suicide bomber was first transported through the Jerusalem area, where Israel's security fence has not been built yet. Kaisi picked him up in his car with Israeli license plates and headed for Tel Aviv. When they approached an Israeli Police roadblock near Herzliya, Kaisi told the suicide bomber in the back seat to pretend he was asleep. Kaisi, who naturally speaks good Hebrew, then drove easily through the roadblock with his Israeli car plates. When they reached the Tel Aviv promenade, the suicide bomber asked Kaisi how much time he would need to drive away. Kaisi replied a half-hour. Forty minutes later the suicide bomber detonated his explosives at the Stage nightclub murdered five Israelis and wounding fifty others.

The Israeli suspect's lawyer says during their drive to the nightclub, the suicide bomber threatened to blow up the car if Kaisi did not go through with the attack. This is not the first time Israeli Arab citizens have participated in suicide bombings; at least one Israeli Arab has actually carried out a suicide bombing.

Previously, ISRACAST reported that Israeli security forces were aware of a dangerous terror cell operating in Tul Kerem but did not act for fear of violating the current lull in the violence with the Palestinians. (See March 18th report)

David Essing, IsraCast, Jerusalem

Transcription done by Yael Yaffe-Last
Studio Production by Avi Yaffe Jerusalem Recording Studios LTD.

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