A Lebanese infiltrator planted Megido roadside bomb
After the gag order on the defense minister’s high-level conference was lifted late on Wednesday, it was revealed that an infiltrator from Lebanon planted the roadside bomb that blew up at Megido junction on March 12. The bomb was of the type used by Hizballah. He also carried a pistol and a hand grenade and wore a bomb vest. After detonating the roadside bomb, he hitchhiked aboard a car heading north and tried to reach the Lebanese border. However, Shin Bet forces, who gave chase, stopped the car, and when the infiltrator opened fire and began fingering his bomb vest, they shot him dead.
DEBKAfile reported earlier.
A possible new terror strategy of roadside bombs initiated by Iran and Hizballah apparently prompted the urgent security conference called by Defense Minister Yoav Galant on Tuesday, March 14. Before them was an assessment of two attacks by unusual methods, indicating a possible new turn in the current wave of Palestinian terror: In one, a bomb was placed on a bus in the small town of Beitar Elite on March 8. It caught fire but failed to explode. In the second, a roadside bomb did explode four days later at the Megido junction, injuring a driver.
The conference, attended also by IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Levi, Shin Bet Director Ronen Bar, head of operations at the IDF HQ, Maj. Gen. Oded Basyuk, and IDF Intelligence (Aman) commander Lt. Gen. Aharon Halyiva, stated only that efforts would continue to maintain normal civilian life in the country. The contents of the conference were placed under a strict gag order.
Beitar Elit is situated south of Jerusalem opposite the Palestinian village of Hussan. When the bomb sputtered without blowing up, security forces ordered residents to stay home and searched for more bombs in a house-to-house search.
The roadside bomb at Megido junction in northern Israel injured an Israeli Arab motorist. Its technology was discovered by investigators to be identical to the bus bomb, although 133km separated the two incidents.
In a speech to the Knesset on Monday, former Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkott said: “The IDF is at a crossroads, and, in my view, we find ourselves in one of our gravest security periods since the Yom Kippur War.” A member of the opposition, Eisenkot maintained that his purpose was not to scare but to understand and appreciate reality. He insisted he spoke “on the strength of intelligence and the reading of facts on the Iranian and Palestinian scenes, as well as in Lebanon.”
Finally, on Wednesday, March 15, the Damascus-based Galilee Forces Quwat al-Jalil claimed responsibility for the Megido roadside bomb and announced that more attacks were on the way. This group is supported by Iran and Hizballah as the military arm of the Movement of the Youth of Palestinian Return (Harakat Shabab al Qudat al-Falastina). For the sake of credibility, the organization published a photo of rockets ready for launching (see attached photo).
This and other evidence appear to indicate that Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hizballah are ready for a role in the Palestinian war of terror against Israel and the attempts to set off a third intifada, by resorting to the strategy of roadside bombs, the weapon that caused the majority of US casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan. If that is the case, the defense minister’s consultation and Eisenkott’s warning were prompted by extreme foreboding and the urgency of counteraction.