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Mossad: 40 Global Terror Alerts

By & Ha'aretz

In an address before the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee on Monday, Mossad Intelligence Agency Chief Meir Dagan reported there are 40 terror alerts against Israeli/Jewish targets around the world. He declined to give details. However, Dagan said in reference to the terror attacks on two synagogues in Istanbul, in which 20 people, six of them Jews, were killed, Israel had no specific alert of a plan to attack Jewish institutions in Istanbul, only general alerts of possible attacks in Turkey.

Turkish Officials: Synagogue Bombers Likely Turkish Nationals with al-Qaida Links

By Amberin Zaman (VOA-Ankara) & Ha'aretz

Turkey's foreign minister, Abdullah Gul, said the men who carried out Saturday's attacks against two Istanbul synagogues were likely Turkish nationals who sympathized with the al-Qaida terror network.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Gul said it was too early to determine whether the four suspects in the bombings were actual members of al-Qaida, or merely sympathizers. He said investigations showed they had what he termed the same mindset as al-Qaida. Gul told the AP results of DNA tests carried out on relatives of the four suspects would provide confirmation of their involvement.

Turkish media on Tuesday widely reported that the four men implicated in the synagogue bombings had received training in Iran and Pakistan. A Turkish prosecutor has since ordered a blackout on all news relating to the investigation.

The two suicide bombers were cousins and the brother of one of the bombers headed the planning and execution of the attack. The brother fled to Syria immediately following the Saturday morning attack. Turkish government figures on Tuesday accused Syrians not connected with the ruling regime of assisting the Istanbul terrorists in carrying out their double attack.

The investigation has also revealed that all four individuals involved in the planning and execution of the suicide bombings came from the city of Bingul in southeast Turkey.

At least 25 people were killed and more than 300 were injured when suicide bombers driving explosives-laden pickup trucks pulled up nearly simultaneously in front of two synagogues in central Istanbul during worship services Saturday morning.

Thousands of mourners - Muslims and Jews - gathered at Istanbul's Ulus cemetery Tuesday as six members of the Jewish community, including a young girl, who died in the attacks were laid to rest. Prominent Turkish politicians, Western diplomats and Israel's parliament speaker, Reuven Rivlin, were present at the funeral.

The six were named as eight-year-old Anita Rubinstein and her grandmother Anna, 85; Avraham Idinvarul, 40; Yoel Cohen Ulcher, the 20-year-old security guard at one of the two synagogues; Berta Usdawan, 34, who was killed along with her Muslim husband, Ahmed; and Yona Romano, 50, who died of a heart attack as a result of the bombing.

Their coffins were draped with Turkey's red-and-white flag emblazoned with a crescent and star, an honor normally given prominent citizens. Wreaths lined the walls of the cemetery in an affluent hilltop district of Istanbul.

On Sunday, the London-based Al Quds-Al Arabi newspaper said it had received a statement from a group linked to al-Qaida claiming responsibility for the Istanbul blasts. The group, called the Brigades of the Martyr Abu Hafz al-Masri, also claimed responsibility for the August attack on the U.N. offices in Baghdad, which killed 23 people. The group said it targeted the Istanbul synagogues because Israeli intelligence agents frequented them.

Two Israelis Killed Near Jerusalem

By VOA News & Ha'aretz

Israeli troops have closed off a Palestinian village in the search for a gunman who killed two Israeli soldiers. Military officials say the gunman hid his rifle in a prayer rug before shooting the two soldiers Tuesday at a West Bank checkpoint near Jerusalem. Officials say the man then fled into El Khader village.

In a leaflet circulated in the Gaza Strip Tuesday evening, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for the West Bank roadblock attack. The two soldiers - Sgt. Major Shlomi Belsky, 23, of Haifa and Staff Sgt. Shaul Lahav, 20, of Kibbutz Shomrat - were shot dead by a Palestinian gunman at around 6 a.m., as they were standing at a checkpoint on the Tunnel Road linking Jerusalem and the Gush Etzion settlement bloc.

The Tunnel Road was originally built as a "bypass" highway, to afford Israeli motorists protection from Palestinian attacks. But early in the three-year Palestinian uprising, the Tunnel Road became a focus for Palestinian sniping attacks and other deadly incidents.

An initial inquiry into the attack revealed operational failures in the conduct of the troops, the IDF admitted on Tuesday evening. According to the military, seven soldiers, only one of whom opened fire on the attacker, manned the position. The soldiers also failed to chase the shooter.

In a separate incident, Israeli soldiers raided Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip, shooting and wounding at least eight Palestinians. Israeli officials said troops demolished several homes and found one tunnel used for smuggling weapons in the camp. One Israeli soldier was also injured in the operation.

Also Tuesday, Israel's foreign minister, Silvan Shalom, said Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is scheduled to meet next week with his Palestinian counterpart, Ahmed Qureia. A date was not announced. The talks would be the first such meeting since Qureia took office more than a month ago.

Palestinian officials said Qureia was due to meet Wednesday with militant group leaders to discuss a possible ceasefire. An aide for Egyptian negotiator Omar Suleiman is also expected to meet with militant leaders to discuss ways to end violence against Israeli civilians.

'Savior Angel' Pushes Car from Railroad Track


David Darmon, 29, of Haifa was in the right place at the right time - and saved two lives in the process.

Driving to military reserve duty this past Sunday morning, he saw a car stuck on the railroad tracks just in front of him. With the barriers beginning to be lowered and the warning bells ringing, he was close enough to hear the young woman in the passenger seat screaming in fright as a train bore down on them. The woman driver in front of him appeared to be frozen in fright as well, and Darmon acted instinctively: He drove ahead into the car, pushing it off the tracks. "By the time the train passed, we were both safely on the other side," he related afterwards.

Racheli, the 19-year-old sitting next to her mother the driver, told Yediot Achronot, "We were on the tracks, and the train was coming closer. The engine died, because there was some problem with the gears. For a second I thought of getting out and running away, but I couldn't leave my mother alone in the car. She was paralyzed in shock. I saw there was nothing to do, and that in another moment I would be dead. I started to scream so that my mother would wake up, but it didn't work. I thought, that's it, it's the end. Suddenly, I felt a bump from behind. For a second I didn't know where I was. Then we got out of the car and burst out crying. The driver behind us was our savior angel."

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