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