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
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
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
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
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