Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

29 Av 5762 - August 7, 2002 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Thirteen Murdered in One Awful Day
by Yated Ne'eman Staff

Sunday there was a wave of terrorist attacks from north to south. Israel responded by tightening its closure in Jenin, Nablus, Tulkarm, Kalkilia and Ramallah. However it will continue its easing of the curfew in Bethlehem and Hebron, which have recently been quiet.

In the Gaza Strip before dawn, a Palestinian frogman swam ashore armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle and eight grenades. He had apparently swum along the coastline before emerging near the Jewish settlements of Dugit and Elei Sinai, where he exchanged fire with soldiers before being killed.

Nine people were murdered and over 60 wounded in a homicide bomber attack aboard a crowded bus Sunday morning near the Meron junction south of Safed. The dead included an avreich from Beit Shemesh, Rav Mordechai Yehudah Friedman, 24.

On Monday the IDF arrested the head of Hamas in Jenin, who is suspected of having sent the bomber. He and three of his assisstants, who had been wanted for quite some time, were arrested in the Arab village of Tubas.

At about 11:40, two Israelis were killed in Jerusalem near the Old City's Damascus Gate by a terrorist who fired a pistol at the driver of a Bezeq truck, then opened the door of the truck and shot dead the security guard. An Israeli Arab sitting in a nearby coffee shop was killed in the crossfire as police exchanged fire with and killed the gunman. It was not clear who killed him.

About two hours later, one Israeli was seriously wounded and three others were lightly wounded in western Samaria, when Palestinian terrorists in a passing car fired on a car whose family occupants had just given a lift to a hitchhiker.

One hour later a roadside bomb was detonated alongside two passing IDF jeeps on what is known as the "Wallerstein Road" which bypasses Ramallah to the north, connecting Beit El and Dolev. Terrorists then opened fire at the vehicle, wounding four soldiers; one seriously, two moderately, and the other lightly.

Late Sunday night, Palestinian gunmen opened fire on a private car, killing two and injuring two. The car was travelling north of Ramallah. The two who were killed were the mother and father of the family, while the two injured were two of their children. The children were evacuated to Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital in Jerusalem.

Security measures were intensified amid warnings of further attempts by terrorist organizations to strike inside Israel and the territories.

Hamas, in a statement issued on Hizbullah's Manar television station in Lebanon, claimed responsibility for the bus attack. It said it was to avenge Israel's killing of its military leader Salah Shehadeh, in addition to the deadly bombing at the Mount Scopus campus of the Hebrew University last Wednesday, which left seven dead. In Gaza City, thousands celebrated the murder of innocents by cheering and passing out sweets.

Security sources dismissed the claim that these attacks were motivated by Shehadeh's death, noting that Hamas, like the Fatah-Tanzim and Islamic Jihad, had been carrying out attacks prior to Shehadeh's killing. There was no indication that they were muting their attacks on Israel, although some suggested that the Tanzim were planning a unilateral cease fire.

The homicide bombing occurred around 8:15 a.m., when the No. 361 Egged bus from Haifa to Safed reached the Meron junction. Six civilians and three soldiers aboard were killed.

The bus was packed with passengers including soldiers en route to their bases in the North. Firemen extinguished the blaze while paramedics started treating the wounded.

It is believed that the bomber boarded the bus somewhere near Karmiel. There are several Arab villages along the bus route, which is extensively used by local residents.

The road was fully reopened later in the day after the remains of the wrecked bus were removed and members of Zaka finished collecting the remains of those killed.

Security sources said that the location of the attack deep inside Israel, and the timing early on Sunday morning when the bus would be packed, raised the possibility that the bomber had been assisted by a local person or persons.

Asked about the possibility of Israeli Arab involvement, Aharonishky said that it would be wrong to jump to conclusions. Nevertheless, he stressed that all aspects of the attack were being investigated.

Aharonishky reiterated that there had been no specific warning about a pending attack in the North and not in that area, although there was an abundance of general warnings.

"There are quite a few organizations trying to carry out attacks and therefore virtually all the police districts have been on a heightened state of alert since the end of last week and the beginning of this week to catch terrorists and prevent or minimize attacks," Aharonishky said.

Asked what he would advise the prime minister in light of the latest attacks, Aharonishky said: "What I have been saying to the prime minister for several months now is that we have to find every means to upgrade the activities of the [security] forces, speed up the establishment of the barrier which would undoubtedly form the central factor in the ability of the police to act, increase the activities on the other side, and create a reality which would reduce [terror attacks] as much as possible."

Spokesmen for a local government authority said that only few meters of the security fence are currently in place. Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer said that he would see to it that significant progress is made within the next month. He said that he expects that 110 kilometers will be standing within a year.


All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.