Suicide bombing foiled
Thursday, August 02, 2001
Suicide bomb attack foiled near Beit She'an
By Jalal Bana, Ha'aretz Correspondent, and agencies
IDF soldiers foiled a Palestinian suicide bomb attack on a crowded bus near
Beit She'an on Thursday. A 16-year-old Palestinian carrying a large, heavy
bag tried to board a bus full of soldiers travelling from Jerusalem to
The bus driver, Menashe Nuriel, said he was suspicious of the bag, and then
saw wires leading from it to a switch. "I understood it was a bomb, I jumped
on him and we fell off the bus," he told reporters.
A soldier grabbed the Palestinian from behind as a woman soldier snatched
the bag from his hands. Police said it contained a large bomb, made up of 10
kilograms (22 pounds) of explosives with nails and scrap metal around it.
Police spokesman Yossi Hasson said it appeared that during the struggle, the
young Palestinian tried to detonate the explosives in the bag and blow
himself up with the bus, but the mechanism failed.
Witnesses said when police detonated the charge three hours later, the
explosion was huge. A suicide bomber with a much smaller explosive device
killed himself and 21 other people, most of them teenagers, in the attack at
the Dolphinarium in Tel Aviv on June 1.
Police said that the youth, from a nearby Palestinian village, was waiting
in a car near the bus stop in the northern Moshav Revaya. When the bus
packed with soldiers stopped, the Palestinian got out of the car and the
driver handed him the bag before leaving the scene. Police, army and
intelligence services launched a search for two people who were said to be
in the car.
The Palestinian who tried to board the bus was captured and taken for
questioning. The Palestinian was taken in for questioning by the Shin Bet
security service. In his investigation, the youth said another man gave him
the bag near the moshav. Police began searching the area for the man who
allegedly gave the youth the bag.
Later Thursday, an IDF helcipter seeking a Palestinian militant involved in
the foiled bus bombing hauled the wrong suspect into a waiting helicopter
and whisked him away on Thursday, an IDF source said.
Palestinian sources said that a special IDF force kidnapped 30-year-old
Murad Bashirat, a key member of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser
Arafat's Fatah movement. However it turned out later that Bashirat is a
junior Fatah member and not the suspect they were after.
The military source said Bsharat was returned by helicopter to the spot
where he was grabbed. His family confirmed he was safely home. The IDF was
searching for the person who gave a Palestinian youth a bag of explosives
which he tried to detonate on a bus in northern Israel.
Palestinians said an IDF helicopter landed Thursday afternoon close to a
roadblock belonging to Palestinian security forces near Kfar Tamun, north
east of the West Bank town of Nablus. Several IDF soldiers got out of the
helicopter, the sources claimed, and forcibly placed Bashirat in the
helicopter, which took off immediately afterward.
Also Thursday, Palestinian Firas Abdel Haq, 23, was shot dead by IDF troops
near Nablus, Palestinian witnesses and hospital doctors said. The IDF said
it fired on two Palestinians trying to plant a bomb. One was killed and the
other escaped, the army said.
Earlier Thursday, shots were fired at the Jewish quarter of Hebron from the
adjacent Abu Sneineh neighborhood, which is under Palestinian Authority
security control. Four mortar shells were fired by Palestinians in the Gaza
Strip on Thursday, after another night of violent clashes in the
The Palestinians also reported that a man was killed in an exchange of
gunfire with IDF troops in the West Bank town of Hebron on Wednesday. The
man, Mohammed Sharabati, a 35-year-old resident of Hebron, was shot by IDF
troops after a mock funeral in the town in honor of the eight Palestinians
killed Tuesday in Nablus turned into a violent demonstration.
Similar mock funerals were held throughout towns and cities in the
territories and in some cases, youths approached IDF outposts and threw
The military wing of Fatah released a statement Thursday calling on the
Palestinian Authority to release all of those it had arrested for
involvement in attacks on Israel. The call came in the wake of the bombing
Tuesday of a Hamas office in Nablus in which eight Palestinians, including
two senior Hamas members and two children, were killed.
Two of the mortar shells fired Thursday morning fell near the settlement of
Morag and another two fell in the northern part of Gaza, near the border
fence with Israel. Overnight, mortars were fired at the Gaza settlements of
Netzer Hazani, Atzmona, Gadid and Kfar Darom. A female resident of Netzer
Hazani was lightly injured in one of the attacks.
There were shooting incidents across the West Bank overnight Wednesday.
Shots were fired at an IDF vehicle in the Nablus area, at IDF positions and
at the settlement of Psagot in the Ramallah area, and at a Border Police
patrol in Har Gilo, on the outskirts of Jerusalem.
A small pipe bomb exploded Wednesday in the gardens outside the King David
Hotel in Jerusalem after it was found by two city gardeners who, thinking it
was a piece of forgotten irrigation equipment, opened it and dumped most of
the explosive material onto the ground. One of the gardeners was slightly
injured in the small blast.
There were shooting incidents throughout the territories during the course
of Wednesday, including four hours of sniping at the Jewish settler compound
of Tel Rumeida in Hebron, and a total of 26 mortars being fired at
settlements and IDF outposts in the Gaza Strip. Only one Israeli casualty
was reported, a slight leg wound to a Border Policeman in Hebron. More than
80 hand grenades were thrown at outposts throughout Gaza.
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