by DEBKAfile 27 April 2002

"Saturday morning, April 27, two terrorists burst into the Jewish settlement of Adora, west of Hebron on the West Bank, shooting their way into one home after another. They killed four Israeli civilians, two of them young children, and wounded 13, 7 seriously.

Two hours later, Ms Anat Harari, 41, waiting at Barzilai hospital, Ashkelon, for surgery on the bullet wounds that smashed her arm and shoulder, gave a calm yet strange account of her experience.

From behind the window of her home, she saw a young man in Israeli military fatigues and flak jacket approaching with an M-16 rifle. He looked just like an Israeli soldier. When he was only a meter and a half away, he raised his rifle and quite deliberately began shooting into the window at which she was standing. He then went round the house, firing through more windows with the same slow deliberation. Ms Harari was absolutely sure of his light skin and non-Arab appearance.

A neighbor, a policeman from the Israeli station in Hebron, came running out when he heard the gunfire. He was so certain the two gunmen he found were Israelis that he addressed them in Hebrew. Only when they shot him did he realize they were terrorists.

DEBKAfile ’s military sources add these fresh accounts to the evidence gleaned from certain terrorist strikes in the last two months – starting with the Kharmiyeh roadblock attack north of Ramallah in early March, in which 10 Israelis were killed. The shadow of an active, experienced non-Palestinian presence has been discerned at work in subsequent Palestinian attacks on Israeli targets.

Although there are theories about this alien identity, Israeli military chiefs do not know for sure who they are. An exhaustive investigation following the Kharmiyeh attack defined the three expert marksmen who executed the deadly assault as professional enough to wipe out every clue to their identity before disappearing without trace. The meager clues discovered do not point to Palestinian hit men.

In certain subsequent shooting and bombing attacks in other places, the execution was Palestinian, but not the way they were organized, the types of explosives and other features.

Ms Harari is the first close-up eyewitness to testify to a non-Palestinian presence in the Palestinian terror machine.
Israel’s military and security authorities prefer to keep the issue low-key so as not to frighten the public. They are also reluctant to tip their hand. Two of the possibilities floated are Hizballah and al Qaeda. Another is European mercenaries – underworld contract killers, or European-trained commandos. Some weeks ago, The London Daily Telegraph reported a request from the Israeli Mossad to the British MI6 to find out if one of the marksmen at Wadi Kharmiyeh was an Irish Republican Army operative. The question was put in light of the tactics employed in the assault, including farsighted intelligence and efficient escapes routes. The killers also had the foresight to strew at the scene misleading evidence of weapons - other than those actually employed.

This calculated pre-planning is a far cry from slipshod, hotheaded Palestinian tactics.

Saturday’s Adora raid was carried out coolly and in broad daylight, the settlement chosen is small and isolated, surrounded only by a plain mesh fence with no Israeli military nearby and the killers made a clean escape - leaving only the imprint of professional killers at work."