Israeli commando unit captures terrorist leaders.
Special to CN Publications
(The following story is fictitious; it is presented to stimulate thought and discussion)
An Israeli commando unit went into Nablus to capture two known terrorist leaders. However, since the terrorists hide among the civilian population, an innocent Arab civilian was also captured with the two terrorists. The names of the three were Ahmed, Bashaar, and Saleem. The commandos brought the three captives to Shin Bet for questioning. The interrogator knew that one was from Fatah, one was from Hamas, and one was an innocent civilian, but he didn’t know which was which. However he knew that the civilian would always tell the truth, the Fatah terrorist always spoke falsely, and the Hamas terrorist makes statements that are alternately truthful and false. The Shin Bet agent allowed each of the captives to make two statements. They made the following statements:
Ahmed: 1. Saleem is from Fatah
2. Bashaar is not a civilian
Bashaar: 1. Saleem is not a civilian
2. Ahmed is from Fatah
Saleem: 1. Bashaar is from Hamas
2. I am not from Fatah
The Shin Bet agent released the civilian and escorted the other two to prison. How did he identify them?
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Solution: One captive is an innocent civilian, one is from Fatah, and one is from Hamas. The civilian always tells the truth, the Fatah terrorist always lies, and the Hamas terrorist makes statements that are alternately truthful and false.
Assume that Ahmed is the civilian. If so, Ahmed’s first statement is true and Saleem is from Fatah. If so, Bashaar must be from Hamas. However, Saleem’s first statement is that Bashaar is from Hamas. This would be true, which is not possible for a Fatah member. Therefore, Ahmed is not the civilian.
Assume that Saleem is the civilian. If so, (oyb azoy), Saleem’s first statement that Bashaar is from Hamas would be true. If so, Bashaar’s first statement would be false and his second statement that Ahmed is from Fatah would be true. However, Ahmed’s second statement that Bashaar is not a civilian, would be true. Again, this is not possible for a Fatah member. Therefore, Saleem cannot be the civilian.
Therefore, Bashaar must be the civilian. As indicated by Bashaar’s second statement, Ahmed is from Fatah, and Saleem is from Hamas, whose first statement is false and second statement is true.
Summary: Ahmed – Fatah
Bashaar – civilian
Saleem – Hamas
Before Ahmed and Saleem were taken to prison they were met by a representative from the International Red Cross who wanted to make sure that they would be granted appropriate conditions in prison including Arab food, a free cell phone, and internet service. Saleem told the IRC representative, “You don’t have to worry about us. We don’t plan to stay long. We have already been assured that we will be released with the next prisoner exchange for the kidnapped Israeli soldier.”