Robbery in Area A
“What?!” I shouted as he was trying to calm me down. "Is this why you have been asking me about Ramallah for months?" "Well," he nodded, looking out the window, "We have been planning this for some time now. It's a foolproof operation."

CCTV footage collected from a camera placed in the vicinity of Arab Bank in Al Bireh shows a white GMC vehicle approaching the bank on the morning of March 17, 2009. The streets were still empty. It was cold, foggy, and rainy. After close inspection of the footage, we could make out the number on the Israeli plates: 2-897-22. Investigations later revealed that the plates were in fact refitted from green Palestinian plates. Two masked men (Suspects A and B) stepped out of the car and made their way into the bank. A third man (Suspect C) remained behind the steering wheel.

The two men stormed the bank armed with a number of weapons fitted with silencers, one pistol (model unknown), and an M16. One of the suspects threatened the security guard and forced him to hand over his gun. Two tellers were serving two customers. Suspect B demanded cash from the tellers, forcing one employee to lead him to the safe. Suspect B then pointed his gun at the employee and forced him to open the safe. At this point, one of the employees sent an alert to the police. The two men exited the bank with two bags and returned to the GMC vehicle, its engine still running, and sped off. Three police cars arrived on site, and two others trailed the GMC to Kufr Aqab. The GMC crossed the Khammara area, arriving at Area C. Eyewitness reports claim that the three suspects abandoned the vehicle and set it on fire using gasoline, before entering a black VW Passat and driving toward Qalandia checkpoint.

Police cars followed the suspects only until the Khammara line as permission was not granted to enter Area C. The robbery lasted 2 minutes and 15 seconds. The stolen currency amounted to 21,000 Jordanian dinars. Witness accounts indicate that Suspect C, most likely an Israeli, was shouting in Hebrew during the robbery. He has now been identified as the mastermind of the operation. The suspects used Israeli cell phones and SIM cards during the robbery. As a result, phone records of conversations could not be obtained.

Yazan Khalili lives and works in and out of Palestine. He is an architect, visual artist, and producer.
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