Newsletter : 4fax0316.txt
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Exercise Leaves El Al Passenger with a Gun
El Al places firearms in the suitcases of some passengers without their knowledge as
part of a training exercise for security personnel. The practice was exposed last week
after a passenger returning to Israel from Frankfurt opened his suitcase to find a pistol
that did not belong to him. After alerting the police, the passenger was informed that it
was a simulated weapon used by El Al security in training exercises. El Al is negotiating
with the startled customer over appropriate compensation. "El Al Israel Airlines uses
various measures and systems to ensure passenger safety," a spokesman for the airline
said. "Beyond that, the company does not comment on security-related issues."
How Did the Terrorists Enter the Port of Ashdod?
As the police and Shin Bet agents continue to investigate Sunday's double suicide
bombing attack in the Port of Ashdod, there are still many questions that are unanswered.
There were no breaks found in the perimeter security fence, leading investigators to
believe the terrorist entered with the bomb vest on, passing the main gate and going
undetected by security guards.
At this stage of the investigation, it appears the terrorist inside the port was
planning to target persons and not a tank as believed earlier, since the bomb detonated
contained a very large quantity of metallic balls and shrapnel. It was also reported that
the second bomber, positioned outside the port, was to have blown himself up after
ambulances arrived on the scene but as a result of a malfunction, the bomb detonated
It was thought that the Ashdod port attack could have been an order of magnitude worse
than it actually was. Hundreds of tons of dangerous substances are stored at the port,
including bromide, fuel and ammonia. Some of them were stored within close walking
distance of the terrorists. A crack in one of the tanks as a result of an explosion would
have left a "dirty bomb" cloud hanging over the entire area. The only protection for
citizens within several kilometers of such a cloud would be to "remain at home with the
windows and doors closed," according to Ruby Gilad of the Environment Ministry.
Security officials said they plan to intensify their targeted attacks on Palestinian
militants. News of the stepped up pace in such operations follows Sunday's suicide attack.
News agencies quoted unidentified Israeli security sources as saying Palestinian militants
should expect even harsher retaliation in the days ahead.
The sources said there would be targeted killings and what was termed other measures
taken against militants and that the targets will be from the top down. The same sources
were reported as saying that an attack on Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, spiritual leader of the
Palestinian militant group Hamas, could not be ruled out. Palestinians called the Israeli
policy of targeted assassinations state-sponsored terrorism. Israel said the policy was
One member of the Israeli parliament has called on the government to take action
against Sheikh Yassin and Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat as well. Avigdor Lieberman of
the right wing National Union party said that since both Hamas and the Al Aqsa Martyrs
Brigades, an offshoot of Arafat's Fatah Movement, claimed responsibility for Sunday's
bombing then the leaders of those groups should bear the consequences.
Just hours after two suicide bombers blew themselves, Israeli aircraft struck suspected
Hamas targets in the Gaza strip. One man was reported wounded in the Israeli strike.
Reports said that the apparent target for Sunday's suicide bombing attack was of
particular concern, as it demonstrated a shift away from bombings aimed at killing dozens
to attacks that could kill hundreds.
Sharon Barely Wins Support for Settler Withdrawal Plan
By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon narrowly won the backing of the parliament on Monday to
unilaterally separate his country from the Palestinians if peace talks failed. He also
ruled out negotiations with the Palestinians in the immediate future, saying they are
doing nothing to stop attacks against Israelis. Sharon received the support of 46
lawmakers. Forty-five voted against his proposed disengagement plan.
Sharon has ruled out peace negotiations with the Palestinians, charging they have done
nothing to stop attacks against Israelis. Sharon on Sunday canceled a planned summit with
his Palestinian counterpart, which had been tentatively scheduled for Tuesday.
The debate was called in response to his recent statements that Israel might have to
withdraw unilaterally from most, if not all, of the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank,
if peace talks with the Palestinians remain stalled. Sharon said on Monday there was no
prospect of such negotiations being revived immediately, one day after two Palestinian
suicide bombers killed 10 Israelis at the southern port of Ashdod.
He said that the Palestinian leadership has done nothing against such terrorism and
that the Palestinian security forces have failed to confiscate weapons, make arrests and
stop incitement against Israel in the media, schools and mosques. Sharon said it was clear
that Israel, for the moment, had no real Palestinian negotiating partners for peace talks.
He added that exactly what unilateral steps Israel might take has not yet been
finalized and promised to bring the completed plan before the parliament later. Sharon
said that he would ask the approval of the Knesset and called on lawmakers to support the
Palestinian Terrorists Try to Kill 10-Year-Old Arab Boy
By IsraelNationalNews.com & Ha'aretz
Palestinian terrorists were willing to sacrifice a 10-year-old Arab boy in the course
of an attempt to perpetrate a terrorist attack against Israelis Monday.
The incident occurred at the Hawara checkpoint near Shechem in the Shomron. An alert
policewoman saw a boy carrying three packs, including one with wires coming out. She
questioned him briefly, and he stuttered that he has been asked to deliver it to someone.
The policewoman put the suspicious bag aside, and called the commanding officer. He
distanced everyone from the site, and sappers detonated the bomb in a controlled
Witnesses said that "screws and nuts flew in all directions, and a small crater was
formed at the site." The explosives vest was estimated at 15-22 pounds. The bomb was
apparently meant to go off via the activation of a cellular phone in the bomb-pack - but a
technical malfunction prevented this. The explosion that would have ensued was meant to
kill not only Israeli soldiers at the checkpoint, but also the child.
The boy was taken for questioning, and related that he had been promised a large sum of
money to carry the pack across the checkpoint. The Israeli intelligence forces believe
that he did not know he was carrying a bomb, and he was released towards evening. The
forces are now looking for the men who sent the boy, as well as the man who was to have
received the package.
According to a Channel 2 TV News report, while soldiers worked to neutralize the bomb,
the terrorist looked on from a distance and attempted to detonate it with a cellular
telephone detonator but a technical malfunction prevented the explosion. Police are
continuing a search for the terrorist.
Jewish Agency Officials Plan to Target U.S. College Campuses
Amos Hermon, the chairman of the Jewish Agency's Education Department, told
participants in the Jerusalem Conference that the agency plans to target American college
campuses in the hope of bringing young American Jews to Israel to live.
Hermon stated that there are some 400,000 American Jews on campuses around the country
and the agency emissaries will be focusing on 50 different schools in the nationwide
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