Car bomb in Jerusalem; Islamic Jihad claims responsibility - Mass Arests of Hamas Acitivists
- Last update - 13:41 01/10/2001
Car bomb in Jerusalem; Islamic Jihad claims responsibility
By Baruch Kra and Amos Harel, Ha'aretz Correspondents
A car bomb exploded Monday morning in the Talpiot neighborhood of Jerusalem. There were no physical
injuries, but two people were treated for shock.
The bomb contained nails, screws and bullets.
At the time of the explosion, the car was in a parking lot near "Tzomet Habankim" on Bethlehem
Street. The blast set fire to some nearby vehicles.
Jerusalem District Police Commander Miki Levy said the blast was caused by a large bomb and that
police were currently searching the area for any other explosive devices.
Usually at the time of day when the blast occurred, the parking lot is full cars as it is near a
school for challenged children, but because of the Sukkot holiday the school was closed.
The Arab satellite television station Al-Jazeera reported that the Islamic Jihad had claimed
responsibility for the bombing, Israel Radio reported.
Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said in response to the blast that "Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah
are the bin Laden of the Middle East and need to be fought without compromise."
Interior Security Minister Uzi Landau said in response to the attack that the opportunity Israel has
given to Arafat will end Tuesday. "Beginning tomorrow [Tuesday] terrorists cannot be allowed any
rest, even for a single moment," he said.
On Sunday the Shin Bet security service announced that it had arrested more than 20 Hamas activists
from the West Bank who had been trained in Syria and who had received orders from Hamas headquarters
in Damascus. Some of the activists were involved in the suicide bombings in Netanya on April 30 and
May 18 this year. Eight Israeli were killed and dozens were injured in the attacks.
Two weeks ago, Ha'aretz reported that several senior members of the cell were indicted, including
Hussein Za'al, a resident of a village near Jenin. Za'al received training for preparing explosive
devices in Damascus. Shin Bet said the cell "was to play a very important part in the Hamas
infrastructure" and was intended to significantly improve the efficiency of terror attacks. Security
sources said more arrests were expected in the future.
Most of the people arrested are students recruited by Hamas during their studies at universities in
Syria, Yemen, Jordan, Sudan and other countries. The young men were recruited by Hamas activists
from the Syrian headquarters and were sent to undergo military training in Syria, Iran and Lebanon.
The head of the Hamas headquarters in Syria is Imad al Alami who works with Haled Mashal, who Israel
attempted to assassinate four year ago in Amman.
During their training, the recruits were taught how to use weapons, how to prepare improved
explosive devices from chemical substances and other methods of carrying out terror attacks. They
were also trained to gather intelligence, and to maintain secrecy. At the end of their training, the
recruits were sent to the territories to establish new terror cells.
Security sources said the knowledge acquired at the training camps abroad was then passed on to
other Hamas activists in the territories and was used to carry out the deadly terror attacks inside
the 1967 Green Line border. The leaders of the cell planned to recruit Israeli Arabs too. The
security sources added that the operational level of the cells which were discovered by the Shin Bet
was worrying, both regarding the ability to carry out terror attacks and the information and
techniques available for building explosive devices.