Jerusalem, 3 June 2003
Details of April 30, 2003 Tel Aviv suicide bombing
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
On April 30, 2003, a suicide terrorist blew himself up at the
entrance to Mike's Place, a pub/cafe on the Tel Aviv promenade.
Three civilians were murdered, and over 50 were wounded in the
The attack was perpetrated by Asif Muhammad Hanif, 22, a British
A second British citizen, Omar Khan Sharif, 27, married, a resident
of Derby, who was also due to have perpetrated a suicide attack, fled
the scene. Khan Sharif attempted to detonate the bomb in his
possession but the bomb failed to explode. He fled the scene after
discarding the bomb. It cannot be ruled out that he was injured by
the explosion of the detonator. During his flight, Khan Sharif
struggled with a security guard at the David Intercontinental Hotel
as he tried to snatch the latter's ID. Khan Sharif's body was
positively identified on May 19, 2003, after having washed ashore on
the Tel Aviv beachfront on May 12.
Asif Muhammad Hanif's bomb was composed of standard explosives.
The two terrorists reached the scene of the attack from a nearby
hotel, in which they had rented a room several hours earlier. Several
days earlier, they had spent one night in the same hotel.
Hamas and Fatah's Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades have claimed joint
responsibility for the attack.
Prior to the attack, the Israel Security Agency (ISA) had received
general, unfocused, information that was taken seriously and upon the
basis of which, a working assumption was made that a terrorist attack,
to be perpetrated somewhere in the center of the country, was being
planned. Despite expedited and varied security measures, the security
forces were unable to prevent the attack.
Immediately after the attack, the ISA - in cooperation with the Israel
Police - began an accelerated and ramified investigation.
An examination of the unexploded bomb discarded by Omar Khan Sharif
showed that it had been hidden in a book and contained standard
A search of the terrorists' hotel room revealed an elastic belt,
explosives and a map of the center of Tel Aviv, on which several
crowded locales - including Mike's Place - were clearly marked
Following is a record of the terrorists' movements prior to the
April 12, 2003 - Entry from Jordan, via the Allenby Bridge. The two
passed through the security checks. (The treatment of the two
terrorists at the Allenby Bridge is currently under investigation
by the ISA and other relevant bodies.)
April 14, 2003 - Hebron; visit to the Tomb of the Patriarchs.
April 15-20, 2003 - Gaza Strip.
April 20, 2003 - Stayed in Jerusalem hotel.
April 21, 2003 - Stayed in hotel near Tel Aviv promenade.
April 22-23, 2003 - Ramallah.
April 23-24, 2003 - Nablus.
April 24-29, 2003 - Gaza Strip.
April 29, 2003 - Entered Israel a few hours prior to the attack.
The two terrorists were careful to establish their presence in Judea
and Samaria by forging links with foreign left wing activists and
members of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM).
ISM members take an active part in illegal and violent actions
against IDF soldiers. At times, their activity in Judea, Samaria and
the Gaza Strip is under the auspices of Palestinian terrorist
Foreign left wing activists, especially ISM members, who seek entry
into Israel, often do so under false pretenses, via cover stories -
entry for matrimonial, tourist, religious and otherr purposes - which
they coordinate prior to arriving in Israel.
Nasif Diekh, a resident of Naama in the Binyamin area, was arrested
and admitted that the two terrorists - with whom he was previously
unfamiliar - had asked him, one week prior to the attack, to help
them volunteer at the medical center in Ramallah where he was employed.
Diekh gave them lodging at the center. Diekh said that the two
terrorists had been driven from Ramallah to Nablus by a female Italian
journalist and left wing activist.
The Italian journalist - who was detained for questioning on May 4,
2003 - said that on April 23, 2003, she had indeed driven the two
terrorists to Nablus. The terrorists told her that they had arrived
to study the situation of the Palestinians. The two toured a medical
center and a school. In the evening, they returned to Ramallah; the
journalist arranged that they would travel to the Gaza Strip the
On April 24, 2003, the terrorists entered the Gaza Strip via the Erez checkpoint, along with the Italian woman journalist and additional
Italian journalists, which greatly assisted them in avoiding suspicion
at Erez. During their stay in the Gaza Strip, they visited Rafiah and
Khan Yunis and met with activists from the various organizations in
the Gaza Strip.
After the visit to Gaza, the Italian woman journalist returned to
Jerusalem. After the attack, she understood that it was the terrorists
who had perpetrated the April 30, 2003 attack who had traveled with
her, but made no mention of this to any official body.
None of the persons involved - neither Palestinian nor foreign -
bothered to contact any official body, despite their familiarity with
the terrorists, even after they understood that they were involved in
the attack, until they came under ISA investigation.
It has become clear from the investigation of the Italian journalist
that the terrorists exploited foreign left wing activists in the
Palestinian Authority (PA) areas for the purpose of covering their
movements throughout Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Even though the latter
were unwitting, they in effect were accomplices to terrorist activity.
This fact requires the security forces to reexamine the issue of the
presence of foreign left wing activists and non-governmental
organizations in the PA areas in light of the possibility that they
are being exploited for terrorist purposes.
The ISA, Israel Police and other security bodies, both in Israel and
abroad, are continuing to conduct a sensitive, complex and
There are additional details which the ISA is not at liberty to divulge
lest this impair the ongoing investigation.
The fact that the attack was perpetrated by a foreign national, and
that another foreign national was supposed to have perpetrated an
additional attack, sharply raises the issue of how to deal with the
involvement of foreign nationals - citizens of friendly countries -
in terrorist activity designed to maim and murder innocent civilians.
This was not the first time that the State of Israel has been the
target of foreign terrorists bearing British passports.
This is one of the most disturbing and complicated issues to deal with
from a security-intelligence point-of-view, due to the fact that no
Western country is capable of providing an effective answer without
the full cooperation of all countries that are threatened by Islamic
Due to the seriousness of the threat, as reflected in the April 30,
2003 attack, the entry of foreign nationals into the State of Israel -
both via Erez checkpoint and the international crossings - is being