The Terror Journal

A Journal on Terrorism and Genocide

Bomb defused at Israeli shopping mall

Israeli flagPrime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Sunday an explosives-laden car parked at a shopping mall in northern Israel, and defused by police, was an attempted Arab attack aimed at causing mass casualties.

Israeli media reported a little-known armed faction called Liberators of the Galilee claimed responsibility for planting the bomb in Haifa on Saturday.

The group’s name — the Galilee is in Israel — suggested it could be comprised of Israeli Arabs, who make up some 20 percent of the population of the Jewish state.

“A huge disaster was prevented last night in Haifa after a car packed with dozens of kilos of explosives did not explode,” Olmert said at the weekly cabinet meeting.

Olmert did not use the word “Palestinians” in his comments, but said the West Bank had long been a “stepping off point” for attacks inside Israel.

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“A preliminary investigation shows it was a terrorist infrastructure operating with great sophistication and aiming to carry out a mass-casualty attack,” he said, without naming any group.

The Liberators of the Galilee were quoted as saying they wanted to avenge Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes in Jerusalem and the recent Israeli military offensive in Gaza.

The number of Palestinian attacks from the occupied West Bank has dropped dramatically over the past several years, a decrease Israeli leaders attribute partly to the barrier Israel has built in the territory to international condemnation.

But Olmert said: “We should not delude ourselves. Attempts by terrorist organizations to carry out attacks inside Israel, along its borders and in its heartland, in various regions, are continuing.”

There was one Palestinian suicide bombing in Israel last year.

In four other incidents since 2008, which police described as attacks, three bulldozers and a car driven by Palestinian residents of Arab East Jerusalem rammed into Israeli vehicles in the western part of the city.

Those events underscored a particular security challenge for Israel: residents of East Jerusalem, an area captured in a 1967 war and annexed in a move that has not won international recognition, carry the same identity cards issued to Israeli Jews and enjoy greater freedom of movement than Palestinian brethren in the West Bank.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said a small blast, possibly caused by a botched detonation, drew the attention of police to the shopping mall’s parking lot. He said they found a “large explosive” in the car and called in bomb disposal teams.

Source: Reuters

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