Worst Terror Outbreak in 17 Months
The deadly spiral of terrorist attacks mounted by a coalition of Palestinian groups continues to climb. Not all of the strikes come off. Tuesday afternoon, one was narrowly averted outside the Jordan Rift Valley Moshav Mehola. As he picked up passengers opposite the moshav for the northern town ofTiberias, a bus driver became suspicious of the demeanor of Palestinian carrying a large backpack. He threw the man off the bus and took off at top speed. The Palestinian fell to the ground andthe backpack blew up, but the bus was safe. Security forces mounted a manhunt for a second terrorist believed to be hiding nearby.
However, an ambush-grenade attack in the Gaza Strip Tuesday night ended tragically when a mother of two and two soldiers were slain on the Kissufim road to Gush Katif. Later, Israeli forces shot dead two terrorists as they tried to break into the Gush Katif village of Morag, bringing to half a dozen the number of Palestinian suicide attacks in 24 hours.
Overnight, Israeli warplanes and helicopters bombed security targets in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah and Ramallah, where Yasser Arafat is confined. Five Palestinians died in those raids. Another three were killed when Israeli helicopters shot missiles at a command center of the Islamic Hamas in Jabaliya, GazaCity at noon Tuesday.
Israeli tanks meanwhile trisected the Gaza Strip for the umpteenth time into impassable sectors so as to hamper the passage of terrorists. Israeli troops also evacuated and bulldozed buildings serving Palestinian terrorists as firing and ambush stations against Israeli civilian and military targets in and around the Kissufim route, scene of the Tuesday night ambush.
In Jerusalem, Israel’s High Court slapped a temporary injunction on the IDF forbidding the demolition of any more houses on the Kissufim route. The injunction was requested by Arab Knesset Member Muhamed Barake and a group of Gaza Strip Palestinians.
In northern Israel, an Israeli couple driving on a road across from the West Bank town of Tulkarm, were hit by gunmen in a passing car and hospitalized.
In the East Turkish province of Van, two Palestinians and a Jordanian, Firaz Suleiman, Ahmed Mahmoud and Mustafa Hassan, were detained on their way to bomb attacks in Tel Aviv and Ramat Gan crowd centers, after entering the country illegally from Iran. The men are members of an al Qaeda network group called Beyyiat el-Imam, who trained and fought with the Taliban in Afghanistan. They said they received additional training in Iran and were ordered to travel to Istanbul and from there, make their way through Syria and Jordan to Israel. They carried fake passports.
In Istanbul, the Turkish authorities detained another six men believed to have been the terror squad’s logistic backup.
Contrary to Iran’s protestations that its hands are clean of terror, Teheran is seen to be redoubling its efforts to step up its combined terrorist offensive against Israel, as part of the orchestrated campaign by al Qaeda, the Hizballah and the Palestinians.
During the day, a senior Israeli officer affirmed the reports carried in debkafilethree weeks ago of al Qaeda terrorists reaching Syria and Lebanon through Iran. Last week, we reported one of Osama bin Laden’s operations officers, Abu Zubaidah, living under tight security in the south Lebanese Palestinian refugee camp of Ein Hilwa.