Intelligence gathered by the ISA indicates the involvement of Zakariya Zbeidi and Tarek Barghut in the area of Beit El.
The two were arrested on 27 February 2019 in a combined ISA, IDF and Israel Police operation after a night during which they were to have carried out an additional attack, but which was foiled by the security forces.
Zakariya Zbeidi, born in 1976, resident of the Jenin refugee camp, holds a senior position in the Palestinian Authority Prisoners Ministry.
Zbeidi was one of the senior terrorists in Judea and Samaria, and was among those released under the 2007 "fugitives agreement." This agreement was based on an explicit commitment by the released terrorists not to engage in violent and illegal activity and to abandon the terrorist cells to which they belonged.
Zbeidi brazenly and violently violated this commitment and was involved in carrying out several shooting attacks. He will be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law, including for previous activity, and will be tried for all of the various terrorist attacks in which he has been involved.
Tarek Barghut, born in 1975, resident of Ramallah, possesses an Israeli ID card, is an Israeli attorney and a member of the Bar Association. He represented security prisoners before courts in Israel and in Judea and Samaria, until his arrest.
Barghut was employed as an attorney by the Palestinian Authority Prisoners Ministry.
The ISA investigation has revealed that the two carried out two shooting attacks, on 7 November 2018 and 5 January 2019, at busses that traveled near Beit El.
The ISA investigation has revealed that the two used Zakariya Zbeidi's vehicle – which he received from the Palestinian Authority for his Prisoners Ministry work – during the attacks.
In preparation for the attacks, the two went over the chosen target areas, carried out observation of potential targets and gathered other information.
The two also carried out another shooting attack on 27 December 2018, during which they fired at a bus en route to Psagot, but did not hit it due to the weather. They also planned to carry out another attack on a Psagot-bound bus in February 2019.
Tarek Barghut also confessed to having shot at – and damaged – a police vehicle at Zeitim Crossing near Jerusalem on 19 November 2016.
During the investigation, an M-16 and magazines, which were used in the attacks, were handed over to the security forces (see attached photo; credit – ISA).
A senior ISA official remarked: "That a senior Palestinian Authority Prisoners Ministry official and an Israeli attorney who worked for the Prisoners Ministry carried out severe terrorist attacks while using an official PA vehicle is very grave. Intelligence and operational activity by the security forces immediately after the attacks and in the ensuing weeks, including in Ramallah, is what led to the exposure of the cell and the foiling of other terrorist attacks in the future."
Severe indictments against the two have been filed by the military prosecutor.