01-20-2006, 04:31 AM #1
Israel Points at Iran for Suicide Bombing
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz accused Iran of funding Thursday's suicide bombing near the old central bus station in Tel Aviv, which left 31 people wounded. Thirteen casualties were still hospitalized Friday morning, one with moderate wounds and the rest with light ones.
Mofaz also charged Islamic Jihad headquarters in Damascus with ordering the operation. One of the group's cells in Nablus claimed responsibility for carrying it out.
The defense establishment has "decisive proof that the attack in Tel Aviv was a direct result of the Axis of Terror that operates between Iran and Syria," said Mofaz. "Iran supplied the money, and [Islamic] Jihad's headquarters in Damascus directed the organization's operatives in Nablus, giving operational orders and instructions."
Israel has already given details of the intelligence behind Mofaz's statements to the United States, the European Union and Egypt. The decision to share this information was apparently meant to provide additional ammunition to the West's campaign to refer Iran to the Security Council over its nuclear program.
Mofaz noted that the blast occurred while Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was in Damascus meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad - a meeting he termed "the terror summit."
Following the meeting, the two convened a press conference at which they issued a joint statement reiterating their support for Palestinian terror.
"Continuing the resistance is the only way to restore the legitimate rights of the Palestinian nation and put an end to the occupation of holy Islamic lands," the statement said.
"Damascus is the only place where the Iranian president is still welcomed," Mofaz commented. "The Iranian-Syrian terror axis is not Israel's private problem."
The bomber blew himself up near the old central bus station in southern Tel Aviv at around 3:45 P.M. on Thursday. He was the only person killed in the explosion.
The Israel Defense Forces said it had no specific warnings of an attack, but only general information indicating Islamic Jihad was intending to strike. Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has ordered the IDF to continue its operations in the West Bank against Islamic Jihad.
Mofaz directed the security establishment to continue operations against Islamic Jihad and "ticking time-bombs" during the coming week, when Israel had planned to reduce its presence in major West Bank cities in the lead up to Palestinian parliamentary elections slated for Wednesday.
Israel blames PA for failing to tackle terror
Islamic Jihad released a videotape Thursday in which it claimed responsibility for the suicide attack. Palestinian sources in the West Bank city of Nablus identified the bomber as Sami Antar, 20, a resident of the adjacent Balata refugee camp. Islamic Jihad has claimed responsibility for each of the six suicide bombings in Israel since a truce took effect last February.
This is the first terror attack that originated in Nablus in more than a year. Other recent attacks carried out by Islamic Jihad involved explosives from Jenin assembled by operatives from the Tul Karm area who reached the Sharon region via Jerusalem.
But despite Islamic Jihad's claim of responsibility, sources in Nablus told Haaretz that Antar was a member of an Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades branch headed by Balata resident Ala Sanakra. This particular branch of the Brigades, which seeks its inspiration from Hezbollah, has threatened to disrupt Palestinian parliamentary elections in the city by carrying out terror attacks.
Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, condemned the attack, calling it an act of sabotage against Palestinian parliamentary balloting scheduled for next Wednesday.
Regardless of which terror group carried out the attack, Israel said the blame ultimately lay at the feet of the Palestinian Authority, which it said was doing nothing to fight terrorism.
"The terror attack in Tel Aviv is a direct result of the Palestinian Authority's glaring indifference to preventing terror against Israel," David Baker, an official in the Prime Minister's Office, told Haaretz. "The PA continues its policy of refusing to take any steps whatsoever to prevent this terror, and ignoring its commitments to do so. It continues to sit idly by and do nothing."
The Thursday blast occurred at a shwarma stand close to the bus station, at the junction of Neveh Sha'anan and Salomon streets, in an area normally crowded with shoppers and travelers.
Witnesses said the bomber entered the restaurant pretending to be a peddler selling disposable razors.
According to police, the bomber blew himself up in the restaurant's bathroom and may have been trying to prepare the explosive device when it went off prematurely.
In the wake of the blast, the police raised the level of alert across the whole country, Channel 10 TV reported.
A Palestinian suicide bomber last struck in Israel on December 5, killing five people outside a shopping mall in Netanya.
01-20-2006, 01:52 PM #2
This is so funny, that it doesnt even deserve a worthy response.
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