By: Aryeh Savir
Over a decade after IDF soldiers Ilan Sbiatkowski and Eliraz Peretz were killed in a terrorist attack near the Gaza Strip, Israel’s security forces were successful in apprehending one of the terrorists involved in the incident.
The Shin Bet (Israel’s Security Service) revealed Sunday that it had arrested Abdullah Da’ama, 38, a resident of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 7 on suspicion of his involvement in terrorist activity against IDF soldiers.
During his interrogation by the Shin Bet, it emerged that Abdullah was involved in a murderous attack that took place on March 26, 2010, on the border fence in the Gaza Strip, near the communities of Nirim and Ein Hashlosha.
IDF soldiers First Sergeant Ilan Saviatovski and Major Eliraz Peretz of the Golani Brigade were killed in the attack, and two others were wounded. A bullet hit a grenade in Eliraz’s vest and exploded.
The attack was planned by the Fatah’s Shahada Al-Aqsa (al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades) in September 2008 and was carried out by them in March 2010, while the Islamic Jihad took responsibility for the attack.
The investigation revealed that around July 2008, Abdullah, who was active in the Shahada al-Aqsa, agreed together with another terrorist, Adnan Abu Hani, to the organization’s proposal to carry out terrorist activities against Israel and to recruit additional activists.
Abdullah and Adnan recruited Bassam Abu Degma for the purpose of carrying out the attack. Abdullah served as Bassam’s cell commander.
As part of the preparations for the attack, members of the squad located a suitable location for the attack near the perimeter fence, near Bassam’s land. The squad members also formulated an outline for planting explosives against IDF forces operating in the sector and recruited additional activists to their ranks.
Squad members underwent arms training, in which Abdullah did not take part, due to a previous injury that prevented him from participating.
The squad worked to carry out the attack, while Abdullah tried to obtain a suitable explosive charge from the organization. After several unsuccessful attempts to obtain the explosive device and shortly before the time of the attack, Bassam obtained a charge and a weapon to carry out the attack from the Islamic Jihad and carried it out with other terrorist operatives.
It should be noted that Bassam was killed on August 16, 2010, during an attempt to plant an explosive device against IDF forces on the perimeter fence in the Gaza Strip.
In addition to his involvement in the attack, the investigation revealed that Abdullah served as a commanding officer in the Shahada al-Aqsa and was involved in terrorist activities against IDF forces until his arrest.
The Southern District Attorney’s Office on Sunday filed an indictment in the Be’er Sheva District Court alleging that Abdullah Da’ama committed offenses involving the murder of IDF soldiers, management of a terrorist organization and membership in a terrorist organization.
The Shin Bet “will continue to work tirelessly to maintain the security of Israeli citizens against terrorist threats and to bring to justice those involved in terrorist activities, even many years after the attack,” it stated.
Peretz was the son of Miriam Peretz, a famed Israeli public figure, and brother of Uriel Peretz, who was likewise killed while serving ion the IDF. Eliraz was survived by a wife and four children.