Would-be suicide bomber caught en route to Tel Aviv
IDF trackers spot the infiltration and locate the bomber in a field, more than a kilometer inside Israel.
Israel Defense Forces soldiers on Friday caught a terrorist from Fatah's military wing en route to carrying out a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. The man was arrested in Israeli territory, near the Gaza Strip.
The terrorist, an 18-year -old from the Jabalya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, crossed the perimeter fence with another Palestinian near Nir-Am, west of Sderot. Security forces had no intelligence warning regarding the planned attack. IDF trackers spotted the infiltration and located the bomber in a field, more than a kilometer inside Israel. The IDF sector brigade commander, Colonel Avi Levy, told Haaretz that the terrorist was wearing a five-kilogram explosives belt, which also contained nails and metal scraps intended to maximize the force of impact. Sapper neutralized the device in a controled explosion.
The terrorist was handed over to the Shin Bet security service for questioning. He told the arresting soldiers that he had been instructed to blow himself up in a crowded spot in central Tel Aviv.
A short while later, police and Shin Bet forces arrested his guide, a Palestinian married to an Israeli Arab, who lives in Jaffa and has an Israeli identification card.
Speaking on Israel Radio, Colonel Levy said the man had a permit to enter the Gaza Strip for family reasons, and was probably coerced by terrorists to assist in the planned attack.
The officer added that the border fence is not the ultimate preventive measure against infilitrations from the Gaza Strip. Levy said there were some 90 incidents of infiltration by Palestinians seeking to work illegally in Israel.
This is only the second time that a would-be bomber managed to get through the Gaza perimeter fence.
The involvement of Fatah operatives contravenes the Palestinian Authority's commitment to the understandings reached in Cairo and Sharm el-Sheikh.
In other developments, a Palestinian bystander was killed and two IDF soldiers were injured Friday in a firefight in Hebron.
An armed Palestinian emerged from a casbah alleyway and opened fire at an IDF post, near settlers' quarters in Beit Romano. A paratrooper sustained light-to-moderate leg wounds, and his comrade was lightly wounded by shrapnel. The shooter got away, but a bystander was mortally wounded when the IDF returned fire. He was treated on the spot by Israeli and Palestinian medics, but died shortly after. The wounded soldiers were taken to Jerusalem's Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem.
In other violence over the weekend, there were six shooting incidents in the Gaza Strip, with no Israeli casualties. In the West Bank, the IDF arrested six Palestinians - five in the Jenin area and one near Hebron. An IDF force came under fire while arresting a wanted man in Qabatiyah, near Jenin.