Palestinians Use Same Explosive as Shoe-Bomber

Karnei Shomron was vulnerable because its shopping center was open to Palestinians from neighboring locations to work and shop there. The suicide bomber reached his target with ease, killing two teenagers and injuring more than 30 when he blew himself up in a crowd of teenagers out for Saturday night pizza. The Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestinian, the Damascus-based PFLP, claimed responsibility for the assault over al Jazeera television.
Prime minister Ariel Sharon declared Sunday morningthrough his spokesmen that Israel has never been defeated in war and won’t be this time either. This was the first word heard from him since his return from Washington last Sunday. Although he used the term “war”, he delayed calling the inner security cabinet into session to Sunday afternoon, after the weekly full cabinet session in Jerusalem, despite the pressing war issues on the agenda.
Saturday rounded off a particularly violent week, ending with the Karnei Shomron blast and two rounds of Qasem rocket firings – the first missing a gas station near the Israeli Negev kibbutz of Kfar Aza, the second causing damage to the IDF’s N. Gaza command base.
Sharon’s leisurely handling of these crises jars badly with the prevailing popular mood. The prime minister elected to put down Palestinian violence is found wanting. The Palestinians escalate their means of warfare day by day, the victims proliferate, yet Israel’s armed forces do not go beyond ritual strikes against Palestinian targets and defensive measures, which scarcely dent Arafat’s infrastructure of terrorism, even though Israeli military targets are increasingly singled out for attack.
Saturday night, Israeli military sources identified the explosive used to destroy a Merkava-3 tank Thursday, February 14, killing three crewmen, as a super-powerful development of C-4. This is not just a further upgrading of Palestinian warfare, it pins down al Qaeda’s involvement.
On December 31, 2001, debkafile revealed that Richard Reid, the “shoe bomber” who attempted to blow up an American Airlines Paris-Miami flight on December 22, spent ten days the previous July in the Gaza Strip Jebalya district, as the guest of the Hamas military arm activist Nabil Aqal. Also revealed was that Aqal received from the Palestinian Authority’s Gaza Strip security chief Mohamed Dahlan a quantity of C-4 explosive spiked according to an al Qaeda formula for boosting its blast effect.
The formula reached the Gaza Strip with the Hizballah cells Arafat imported from Lebanon in the fall of 2000. Aqal handed the deadly substance to Reid.
Nearly two months ago, therefore, Dahlan was known to have manufactured upgraded C-4, the very explosive found in Reid’s shoes and now identified as the substance used to blow up the Merkava tank.
Both came from the same source: PA officer Dahlan working to an al Qaeda formula!
Friday night, February 15, Israel television Channel 2’s Arab Affairs Commentator Ehud Ya’ari revealed that Dahlan’s security forces had joined forces with the Hamas military arm in the operation against the Merkava tank. Within seconds, Dahlan was on the phone to Channel 2 demanding that Yaari retract his “lies”. Yaari stuck to his guns and repeated his story.
The Palestinian security chief jerked into action because the television disclosure was a giveaway. His hand in blowing up the tank was exposed and. It was only a step before the explosive was named as the upgraded C-4 formula found in the shoes of the al Qaeda bomber. Add to this that Dahlan is famous for not blowing his nose without permission from his boss, PA Chairman Yasser Arafat, and the link to al Qaeda goes straight to the top.
This disclosure is at least as damning as the smuggled arms cargo aboard the Karine-A – which is why Dahlan was so desperate to suppress it.
At the time of the bombing of the Karnei Shomron pizzeria, CIA director George Tenet arrived in Sanaa, Yemen, on a dual mission: to try and bust the al-Qaeda Yemen-Saudi ring, whose activities sparked the FBI general terror alert on February 15; and to wind up the inquiry in the bomb attack that crippled the USS “Cole” in Aden harbor on October 12. 2000.
When Tenet reaches Israel at some point in his Middle East tour, Sharon will be able to demonstrate that the explosives used by Dahlan and the Hamas’s Ezz a-Din al-Qassem were not only identical to the shoe bomber’s, but also applied by the al Qaeda squad that blew up the Cole.
That is just one more link in the chain of evidence connecting Yasser Arafat and Palestinian Authority officers under his command to global terror, aimed not just against Israel. His ties with Iran, Iraq and the Hizballah have been exposed; now too, is his operational collaboration with al Qaeda.
Yet since Sharon returned from Washington Sunday, February 10, he appears to have gone to ground. The unofficial report that he is down with the flu is borne out by the fact that most of the party that flew with him to Washington caught it too. The country beset by a war crisis was not told if they had a functioning prime minister or a stand-in. He kept silent while the IDF’s Southern Command base was attacked in the Israeli town of Beersheba, leaving two servicewomen dead, the Palestinians fired their first rockets into Israel and blew up an Israeli tank, the commander of the elite Duvdevan unit died during an operation and a suicide bomber struck a shopping center.
No official announcement on his state of health was forthcoming during a whole week, in which seven servicemen and women were killed.

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