Jerusalem, Sept. 7 – Israeli security forces last month prevented what could have been a major tragedy in Jerusalem, seizing an explosive belt 24 hours before a planned suicide attack -- after it had already been smuggled into the city, Israeli media reported Wednesday.
According to the Haaretz newspaper, the Shin Bet internal security service managed to prevent the attack when it broke up several Hamas cells operating in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, arresting dozens of suspects.
Hamas, armed and financed by Iran, is committed to the destruction of Israel. Its Charter calls on adherents to kill Jews wherever possible. Article Seven states: “Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah’s promise whatever time it might take. The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: ‘The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews and kill them; until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him’!”
Haaretz reporter Anshel Pfeffer wrote: “The main cell charged with carrying out the attack was based in Hebron. The cell was in touch with the Hamas headquarters in Syria, and the date of the attack was set for August 21. The planned attack involved a fire extinguisher which contained six kilograms of explosives. The device was supposed to be carried by a suicide bomber in a bus or a mall in the Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood in Jerusalem.
“The same cell was responsible for the March 23 attack in the central bus station in Jerusalem, where Mary Jean Gardner, a British tourist, was killed, and 47 other people were injured.”
The Jerusalem Post said security forces broke up 13 separate cells and arrested the bomber planning the August 21st attack. The bomber had intended to blow himself up either at a mall or on a bus, or possibly near a military base.
Tensions are rising in the territories ahead of a Palestinian attempt later this month to engineer a resolution in the United Nations containing a unilateral declaration of statehood.