Israel indicts Al-Qaida Palestinian for possession of biological weapons

West Bank Palestinian Samar al-Barak, intended on training others to use biological weapons, according to the charges in Israel’s military court.


A Palestinian has been indicted in a military court on suspicion of being an Al-Qaida activist who possessed biological weapons and planned to train other Palestinians in their use.

Fighters from an al-Qaida-linked Islamist group in Mali.

Fighters from an Al-Qaida-linked group in Mali. Israel is also a target. – Photo: AP

Samar al-Barak was indicted after spending more than three years in administrative detention without trial – a detention the state defended before the High Court of Justice on the grounds that it was essential for security reasons.

Al-Barak, born in the West Bank town of Qalqilyah in 1974, studied microbiology in Pakistan. In 1998 he underwent military training in Afghanistan, court documents said, and three years later he was recruited into Al-Qaida. In August 2010 he was arrested when he tried to return to the West Bank via the Jordanian border.

“Over the years, [al-Barak] acquired a lot of knowledge and experience in the field of non-conventional weapons, with an emphasis on biological weapons, and he was in contact with senior members of the terrorist organization Al-Qaida during his stay outside the region,” a High Court brief filed by the state last year said.

It said al-Barak had agreed to pass his knowledge of poisons on to others for use in committing terror attacks. At one point, Israel tried to deport him, but no other country would take him.

Last November, al-Barak’s detention became public knowledge when he petitioned the High Court against it, but the court turned him down. “We were convinced that at this time there is no less-harmful method that would nullify the danger” posed by al-Barak, Justice Edna Arbel wrote for the court.

“The material before us, and especially the latest material, gives no basis for assuming that the petitioner intends to abandon either the path of religious extremism or the path of terror as a vehicle for advancing it. The latest material, coming on top of the petitioner’s background and past, indicates that at this time his release would entail a real and significant risk to the security of the region and public. Therefore there are no grounds for our intervention.”

Last week, however, another method of detaining him was found: The military prosecution indicted him for exactly the same offenses that had initially been used to justify his administrative detention.

The indictment charges him with undergoing military training, contacting the enemy and conspiring to commit murder. It said he practiced killing dogs with poisons and was tasked with developing biological weapons by the head of Al-Qaida, Ayman al-Zawahiri. He learned to use the botulinum toxin and agreed to train other Palestinians to use it, the indictment said.


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