Monday, February 04, 2008

Dimona suicide bombers - from West Bank or Gaza?

The A-plant in Dimona (above) is secure.
A suicide bomber on Monday morning blew himself up in the southern town that houses Israel's secretive nuclear reactor, killing an Israeli woman and wounding seven other people, Israeli authorities said. Police said they killed a second attacker before he had a chance to detonate his explosives belt. Both of the perpetrators were killed and there was no damage to the reactor, which was miles from the blast.
It was the first suicide attack in Israel in a year, and officials were investigating whether the attackers came in through Egypt after Palestinian militants breached the Gaza-Egypt border last month, according to the Associated Press.

An offshoot of moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement claimed responsibility, complicating recently renewed peace efforts. The attackers, they said, came from the West Bank, though the claim could not immediately be verified.
Hours after the suicide bombing, Israeli aircraft struck a car in the northern Gaza Strip, killing a top wanted man.
Israeli government officials dismissed the notion that the heavily guarded Dimona nuclear reactor was the suicide attackers' target. The explosion took place in a shopping area about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the reactor site.
«We heard a large explosion and people started to run. I saw pieces of flesh flying in the air,» a witness identified only by her first name, Revital, told Army Radio.
Ambulances and a large contingent of soldiers, rescue workers and police rushed to the scene of the bombing, the first in the working class town of 37,000.
Police said one attacker managed to detonate his explosives belt, but the second was shot dead by police before he could set off his bomb. A police bomb squad was on the scene defusing the explosives.
Dr. Baruch Mandelzweig said he was at his clinic nearby when he heard the blast. He and his nurses rushed out to the street to see what had happened, and saw body parts «strewn around everywhere.
They spotted a critically injured man whose head was moving, and began to treat him before realizing he was the second attacker.
«We saw an explosive belt,» he said. «We ran away,» and later we heard he had been shot, Mandelzweig said.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel said, «the terror organizations have shown again who they are and what they are.
«Their goal was and continues to be to kill Israeli citizens in their homes and their schools and in their shopping centers,» he added. «Israel will continue to fight against this murderous terror.
Shortly after the attack, Israeli aircraft killed a senior commander in the Hamas-affiliated Popular Resistance Committees in the Gaza Strip, the group said. The military confirmed an attack against a PRC activist in Beit Lahiya, a town Palestinian militants frequently use to fire rockets into southern Israel.
At Sunday's Cabinet meeting, Israeli security chiefs warned that because of the anarchy on the Gaza-Egypt frontier, Palestinian militants might enter Israel through Gaza's Sinai desert to attack a civilian Israeli target, a government official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because the Cabinet meeting was closed.
Southern Israel has been on alert against militant attacks since the Gaza Strip's Islamic Hamas rulers breached the border with Egypt on Jan. 23. Egypt managed to reseal the border only on Sunday.
The breach made Israel's Negev desert, where Dimona is located, more vulnerable to penetration by Palestinian militants who could enter through Egypt's porous border. Dimona is about 60 kilometers (40 miles) northeast of Egypt.
In an e-mail to The Associated Press, the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, a Fatah offshoot, said it sent attackers from the West Bank town of Ramallah, Abbas' base, to carry out the «heroic martyrdom bombing in Dimona.
The faction said it carried out the attack with the small Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Although Abbas' government has claimed to have dismantled Al Aqsa forces in the West Bank, a group spokesman, Abu Fouad, said Monday that «nobody has given up weapons.
The bombing came at a critical juncture. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators relaunched peace talks after a seven-year break just two months ago, and Israel has made it clear it won't implement any accord until militant groups in the West Bank and Hamas-ruled Gaza are disarmed.

Abbas' office denounced the attack. But it denied Al Aqsa was involved and linked the bombing to an Israeli raid in the West Bank that killed two Islamic Jihad militants before dawn Monday.
«The Palestinian Authority expresses its full condemnation of the Israeli operation in the northern West Bank and it condemns the attack in the commercial center in the city of Dimona, which targeted Israeli civilians,» his office said.
«Fatah has confirmed that the Al Aqsa Brigades has nothing to do with this attack,» it added, saying that a «well known group opposed to the peace process» was responsible. It did not elaborate.
In the southern Gaza town of Rafah, gunmen fired their weapons into the air to celebrate the bombing.
Hamas spokesman Ayman Taha said he did not know whether his group was involved, but praised the attack. He also rejected suggestions that the bombing would hurt Hamas' chances of reopening the border with Egypt.
«The suicide bombings were there before the closures and the resistance used every opportunity to make these glorious acts,» he said. «They show the Palestinians can respond to the enemy and their crimes.
The previous suicide bombing in Israel occurred on Jan. 29, 2007, when a Palestinian attacker entered Israel from Egypt, killing three Israelis at a bakery in the southern Israeli city of Eilat.
After Israeli-Palestinian peace talks broke down in 2000, Palestinian militants killed hundreds of people in dozens of suicide bombings.
Dimona is home to Israel's nuclear research center, and it is widely believed that atomic weapons were developed at the plant. Israel neither admits nor denies having nuclear arms.

There were only two such attacks between April 2006 and now, the last being in January 2007 when a bomber blew himself up in a bakery in Eilat, killing three people.

The Dimona suicide bomb attack is also the first since renewed efforts to come to an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal were launched with US support late in November.

Israel argues that its blockade of about four million Palestinians in Gaza and large parts of the occupied West Bank prevents such attacks. Intelligence officers suspect that the breach of the Rafah border between the Gaza strip and Egpt, which was resealed only yesterday after a dozen days without regulation, is likely to have played a role in this incident.


Red Heifer said...

No sooner is the love-in with the desperate boys of Rafah done, then BOOM. Blood on their hands. what fools. Why not warn shoppers the way the IRA used to?
It's a tossup whether these Pal terrorists came over from Hebron or up through the desert. Nasty disheartening news.

Anonymous said...

Is someone masquerading as Red Heifer, acyber-interloper?
Red Bull aka Red Heifer

Muslims Against Sharia said...

Muslims Against Sharia condemn the murderers responsible for the homicide bombing in Dimona as well as degenerate perpetuation of the culture of death in Gaza.

Our prayers are with the victims of this atrocity. We send our condolences to their loved ones.

May the homicide bomber rot in hell for eternity. May his accomplices and animals who celebrated this horrendous act join him soon!

Muslims Against Sharia call on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to shut down Al-Hayat al-Jadida, Al-Iyam and Al-Quds as terrorist mouthpieces that glorify homicide bombings. Failing to do so will show that Palestinian Authority's quest for peace is nothing more than empty words.

Alex said...

What do you think of this ? Shoher is arguably the most right Israeli today, but he argues Israel should talk to Hamas as Egypt will not maintain the blockade of Gaza.

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