Homicide bomber from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad blows himself up wounding dozens

The Jerusalem Post (www.jpost.com) reports that a homicide bomber from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad blew himself up in a cafe in Netanya, 20 miles north of Tel-Aviv:

In the first suicide bombing since the start of the Iraq war, a terrorist detonated himself today outside a crowded cafe in the Mediterranean coastal city of Netanya, wounding nearly 40 people, two of them critically.

Among those reported wounded is a soldier who prevented the terrorist from entering the Cafe London on the Netanya Pedestrian Mall on Herzl Street, forcing him to detonate his explosives outside, thus limiting the number of casualties.

Responsibility for the attack that occurred at 1 p.m. local time near the Mediterranean Sea front was claimed by Islamic Jihad, a terrorist group that has carried out dozens of attacks against Israelis in recent years. The bomber came from the West Bank city of Tulkarm carrying a three-kilogram nail-studded bomb, The Associated Press reports. [...]

"I heard a very loud explosion, and then a body lying in pieces nearby," Henry Ashkenazi, a witness, said. Shortly afterward the entire street was littered with scorches bits of food, clothing, and the terrorist's remains.

Magen David Adom and media reports said as many as 39 people were taken to Netanya's Laniado Hospital, Hillel Yaffe Hospital in Hadera and Meir Hospital in Kfar Sava. Magen David Adom officials said at least one of person was in critical condition and two others serious

I heard reports on Israeli radio that the soldier who stopped the homicide bomber from blowing himself up inside the cafe is in critical condition and will probably not survive.

For a list of all homicide bombings executed by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad since October 2000, click here.

In 2000, Israel offered the Palestinians an independent State of their own, but Arafat, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, rejected peace and turned to murder, racism and violence. To learn more about the delusional and intransigent position of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Yasser Arafat, click here.

I copy the full article below.





DOZENS HURT IN NETANYA SUICIDE ATTACK
By THE JERUSALEM POST INTERNET STAFF, Mar. 30, 2003
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?
pagename=JPost/A/JPArticle/
ShowFull&cid=1049012178259

Islamic Jihad Secretary Dr. Ramadan Shallah, speaking from Damascus, announced on Al Jazeera television that his organization was responsible for Sunday's terrorist attack on Caf London in Netanya's seafront area.

The terrorist was identified as 19-year-old Rami Ghanem from the village of Deir Al Ghassoon near the northern West Bank town of Tulkarem.

"This is our way of showing solidarity with the people of Iraq, " said Shalah. Shallah said the
bombing was a "gift to the heroic Iraqi people" and that Islamic Jihad had sent volunteers for suicide missions to Baghdad.

In the first suicide bombing since the start of the Iraq war, a terrorist detonated himself today outside a crowded cafe in the Mediterranean coastal city of Netanya, wounding nearly 40 people, two of them critically.

Among those reported wounded is a soldier who prevented the terrorist from entering the Cafe London on the Netanya Pedestrian Mall on Herzl Street, forcing him to detonate his explosives outside, thus limiting the number of casualties.

Responsibility for the attack that occurred at 1 p.m. local time near the Mediterranean Sea front was claimed by Islamic Jihad, a terrorist group that has carried out dozens of attacks against Israelis in recent years. The bomber came from the West Bank city of Tulkarm carrying a three-kilogram nail-studded bomb, The Associated Press reports.

"A suicide bomber who arrived at the pedestrian mall and blew himself up at Cafe London," shortly before 1 p.m., Netanya's Mayor Miriam Feierberg said.

"I heard a very loud explosion, and then a body lying in pieces nearby," Henry Ashkenazi, a witness, said. Shortly afterward the entire street was littered with scorches bits of food, clothing, and the terrorist's remains.

Magen David Adom and media reports said as many as 39 people were taken to Netanya's Laniado Hospital, Hillel Yaffe Hospital in Hadera and Meir Hospital in Kfar Sava. Magen David Adom officials said at least one of person was in critical condition and two others serious.

Police combed the area afterwards, suspecting other terrorists could be about. Officials said there were dozens of warnings of additional plots to carry out attacks.

According to YNet, an Israeli newspaper Web site, six Palestinians were detained on the rooftop of a building near the attack site.

Police said that in breach of security regulations, there apparently was no security guard posted outside the cafe to challenge the terrorist.

But an Israeli man, reportedly a soldier in the Golani brigades, was critically wounded after using his body as a shield to keep the bomber from entering the crowded cafe where 50 people sat. Two of his friends, who stood behind him, were listed in critical condition.

"I saw a person trying to get inside and the guard didn't let him in. The terrorist went over to the side and blew himself up," a witness, Reuven, said.

The attack was the first suicide bombing since the onset of Operation Iraqi Freedom nearly two weeks ago. Israel has been on the alert for fear there would be more attacks during this period. It also came as police were on high alert while Israeli Arabs marked their annual Land Day, in memory of six Israeli Arabs killed in rioting to protest land confiscations in 1976.

"The (Palestinian) motivation to harm Israel and to help the Iraqi struggle is well known to us and it comes across in all the intelligence reports," Internal Security Minister Tzahi Hanegbi said.

Netanya Police Chief Amichai Shai said his officers had been on high alert because of Land Day. Shai said there was also concern that Arab assailants trying to show solidarity with Iraq would carry out attacks.

About an hour after the attack, The AP reported receiving a claim of responsibility from Islamic Jihad, telephoned to their office.

Netanya, a coastal city north of Tel Aviv, has been the site of numerous terror attacks since the outbreak of a Palestinian uprising in September 2000. The city was also the site of the worst terror attack of this period, the Pessah massacre at the Park Hotel in which 29 people were killed on March 27, 2002. That attack triggered Operation Defensive Shield, when IDF troops launched massive raids on terrorist strongholds in the West Bank, particularly the areas of Jenin and Nablus.

"We are living in tension all the time, we are always on edge, we secure every event here. We cannot prevent everything," Feierberg said.

The last suicide bomb attack in Israel was March 5 when a terrorist from Hebron blew himself up on a bus killing 17 people.

In response to today's attack, the office of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told The Jerusalem Post that "once again the bloody hands of Palestinian terror have struck at the heart of Israel's cities."

"Anyone who thought Palestinian terror has subsided is sorely mistaken," David Baker, an official in Sharon's office, said.

Posted by David Melle
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