Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

5 Iyar 5763 - May 7, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Bomb Smuggled Inside Quran
by Yated Ne'eman Staff and M Plaut

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday that the two British bombers involved in the bombing of Mike's Bar in Tel Aviv last week entered the territories via the Allenby Bridge. They brought in their explosives hidden in a copy of the Quran, the central book of the Islamic religion. The explosives were especially compact, and of a kind that is unknown in the Palestinian Authority areas, and it is speculated that is why they were not detected.

The bombers first traveled to the Gaza Strip where they established contact with terror organizations there. There were known to have attended a memorial service run by the International Solidarity Movement for a woman who was killed by accident while protesting Israeli bulldozing of terrorist homes. There are unconfirmed reports that they entered Israel from Gaza pretending to be activists with the International Solidarity Movement.

The suicide bombing by British Muslims at a bar in Tel Aviv last week has heightened concern about the threat to British Jews, according to The Jerusalem Post. Al-Qaida is active in Britain, and several Islamic preachers have justified suicide attacks in the cause of jihad.

The Community Security Trust (CST) recently reported a massive increase in antisemitic incidents in Britain since the beginning of this year. During the first quarter of the year, according to the CST, a total of 89 incidents were recorded, an increase of 75 percent compared to the same period last year.

The trust, which monitors antisemitism and organizes a self- defense infrastructure for the Jewish community, noted that almost half of the incidents -- some 43 -- coincided with the Iraq crisis in March, the highest monthly level for 11 years.

The incidents involved 15 physical assaults, as well as verbal abuse, antisemitic graffiti, offensive letters to individuals and Jewish organizations, and the desecrations of synagogues and Jewish cemeteries. A spokesperson for the CST described the current levels of antisemitism as "a cause for concern" and said Jewish schools, synagogues, and communal organizations had been advised to be "very vigilant."

An important contributing factor to the recent rise in antisemitism is said to be the linkage that had been created by the British government between the Iraq war and the Palestinian issue, despite warnings by Jewish community leaders that such linkage would drive up the level of animosity. Linkage between the Iraq war and the Palestinian issue was explicitly made by both Prime Minister Tony Blair and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw before and during the war.

It is thought that linkage of the issues by senior politicians across the spectrum served to legitimize the profound antipathy to Israel that unites the disparate protesters who make up the anti-war movement.

Asif Mohammed Hanif, a 21-year-old university student from west London, blew himself up outside Mike's Place on the Tel Aviv beach promenade last week and Omar Khan Sharif, a 27- year-old from Derby in the English Midlands, fled the scene after his explosive belt failed to detonate. Both held British passports, and were born and grew up in Britain.

Hanif is believed to be the first foreign suicide bomber in Israel, as well as the first British citizen to carry out a suicide attack.

Islamic extremist groups based in Britain continue to encourage British Muslims to become suicide bombers as part of a jihad, or holy war, against Israel and the Jewish people.

The CST and the Board of Deputies, the umbrella body that represents most British Jews, for a number of years have feared that Britain was becoming a fertile breeding ground for Islamic extremists. Last month, the organizations submitted a joint memorandum to the House of Commons' Foreign Affairs Committee, calling for coordinated action to be taken against U.K.-based terrorist groups.

"Terrorist groups which have, in effect been chased out of the USA and some European countries may be seeking to establish themselves in Britain," Neville Nagler, director general of the Board, commented at the time.

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, U.K. security forces have been on high alert, focusing mainly on British links to Osama Bin Laden's Al-Qaida terrorist network. There have been a number of high profile arrests and trials of Islamic radicals from or based in Britain.

The "Shoe Bomber," Richard Reid, who attempted to blow up a Miami-bound plane, was born and spent much of his life in Britain.

Zacarias Moussaoui, who allegedly was to have been the twentieth hijacker on Sept. 11 and is the first person charged for the Sept. 11 attacks, is believed to have been a member of an Al-Qaida cell in south London.

Another Londoner, Ahmed Saeed Sheikh, masterminded the kidnap and murder of Wall Street Times reporter Daniel Pearl in Pakistan in January 2002.

Last month, two Algerians were jailed in Britain for 11 years for plotting to raise funds and recruit members for Al- Qaeda.

There also have been arrests throughout England of suspects after the deadly poison ricin was found in north London in January.

Another Muslim cleric, Jamaican-born Abdullah el-Feisal, was sentenced in March to nine years in prison for soliciting murder and stirring up racial hatred. Based in east London, el-Feisal had distributed tapes calling for Muslims to kill non-believers, Jews, Americans and Hindus.

"The seeming involvement of two British Muslims marks a tragic and worrying development," the spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, a moderate body that represents more than 350 mosques and Islamic organizations in the U.K. said.

"Whereas British Muslims do sympathize with the Palestinian cause, the murder of innocent civilians could never be condoned. It is abhorrent to Islam," he added.

One of the two Muslim Members of Parliament, Khalid Mahmood, a centrist from the ruling Labor Party, condemned Britain's fringe Islamists.

Hamas and the Al-Aksa Brigade of Fatah jointly claimed responsibility for the bombing last week, which took place yards from the American Embassy in Tel Aviv. It appears that Sharif and Hanif made contact with Hamas while in Gaza.

Police in Britain have arrested six people in connection with the suicide bombing at Mike's Place in Tel Aviv last week.

Reports said that Israel is considering plans to step up the arrest and deportation of pro-Palestinian peace activists who, it says, are being used by terrorists as human shields, and intends to prevent others from entering the region.

Also in Britain, the militant Islamic group Al-Muhajiroun said Sharif had attended one or two lectures given by the group's leader, Sheik Omar Bakri Muhammad. It says its goal is to make Britain an Islamic state. A spokesman denied that the men were members of Al-Muhajiroun.

An important detail that has emerged so far is that one of the terrorists was of Pakistani descent, although both men were British citizens. This indicates that even if Hamas, as it claims, was responsible for the attack that killed three, it may have been aided by an international Muslim terrorist group that is active among Pakistanis. If so, the connection was probably made through Hizbullah.


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