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Explosive Belt Found In Mosque

Fri Feb 07, 2003 11:15 pm

To all those who are condemning Israel for having sent its defense Forces back in Palestinian's one, just one, example of the reason behind this move.

Since April 2002's military operations, the number of terror attacks in Israel has dramatically dropped; yesterday, the center of the country has been paralized for many hours due to a high state of alert. In the evening, 2 terrorists and an explosive belt have been found, and another carnage has been avoided. Such arrests are taking place every week, dozens of suicide attacks have been successfully averted over the last months.

From today's internet edition of Haaretz: (

Explosive belt to be used by terrorists found in Taibeh mosque

By Roni Singer and Jalal Bana, Haaretz Correspondents, and Haaretz Service

Police sappers detonated Thursday night an explosive belt found in a Taibeh mosque, just hours after arresting two Islamic Jihad militants on their way to carry out a suicide bombing in Israel.

Sharon region police found the belt in the mosque's toilet and sappers worked for hours to remove the belt from the mosque, to avoid any damage to the building.

The militants, who were travelling in a Palestinian cab carrying five passengers, were apprehended Thursday evening by IDF soldiers after the region had been placed earlier on high alert following intelligence warnings of a possible terrorist infiltration. The terrorists were caught at a roadblock near the village of Talusa, north of the West Bank city of Nablus.

Police sources said that the arrest and subsequent location of the explosives had averted a major attack, due to be carried out within hours. Officers also expressed outrage at the use of a place of worship to store explosives.

According to a Shin Bet security investigation, the terrorists planned to carry out the attack inside Israel either on Thursday night or Friday morning using the explosive belt they hid in the mosque. According to police estimates, the belt contained 15 kilograms of explosives an many steel nails.

A questioning of the two militans and another Palestinian suspected of involvement in the planned attack three Palestinians revealed that the two Islamic Jihad militants entered Israel, with one of them wearing the explosive belt. But due to increased presence of security forces along the seam line, the two hid the belt in a trash can inside the mosque toilet and returned to the West Bank.

Taibeh mayor helped police after being briefed on the event during the night. Volunteers distributed leaflets published by the city council explaining the events in the mosque.

The two men, from the Nablus area, were identified by Palestinian sources as Shadi Bahalul and Tareq Baslat. It is believed that the two wanted men intended to cross the Green Line near Tul Karm.

"The very fact that they hid an explosive belt in a mosque in Taibeh is an extremely grave development." David Baker, an official in the prime minister's office said Thursday. "It just goes to show what extraordinary steps Palestinian terrorists are ready to take in order to kill as many Israelis whenever and wherever possible," he said.

Sharon region police commander Brigadier General Amiahi Shai told Israel Radio Friday that the capture of the two terrorists prevented a large attack inside Israel. He said that had the explosive belt blown up inside the Taibeh mosque, a huge disaster would have occurred. He also said that the mosque officials had nothing to do with hiding the belt in the building, and that the mayor of Taibeh greatly assisted security forces in getting the belt out of the mosque.

Earlier in the evening IDF troops killed a Hamas activist east of the city of Taibeh, on the Green Line. Police are checking whether the two incidents are connected. Police also closed off the road between the Haroeh and Hefer junction in the West Bank after a suspicious figure was seen in the area.

A unit of reserve soldiers noticed the man, who arose their suspicions. The man didn’t respond to their request to halt, and was subsequently shot. It is still unclear if he is terrorist or an innocent bystander

Border Police officers were scouting the area and had set up roadblocks at the entrance to towns in the area. The search effort was focusing on the area around the village of Taibeh, and there were long traffic jams in the Sharon region as a result of the roadblocks.

Earlier in the afternoon, Border Policemen shot dead a man who stabbed an officer on the Wadi Ara Road, near the Israeli Arab village of Umm al Fahm.

Border Police officers patrolling the region had considered the man to be suspicious-looking and asked him to stop for questioning. The man, an Umm al-Fahm resident, approached the officers and stabbed one of them in the torso, lightly wounding him. Other officers then shot him dead.

Police checked to see if the man was carrying explosive material, but did not find any. Some of his neighbors reported that he was mentally unstable.

Police commissioner Shlomo Aharonisky said that the assailant had also attempted to grab one of the officer's weapons, and that the police reacted appropriately to the apparent threat.

I bitterly miss the livery that should never have been changed (repetition...)

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