Egypt says would-be Hamas suicide bomber arrested near Israeli border
Egypt says man was waiting to cross border from Sinai into Israel; Hamas claims shooting of Israeli near Karni.
Egyptian authorities have detained a would-be Hamas suicide bomber next to the Israeli border as he was awaiting instructions to carry out a terrorist attack inside Israel, an Egyptian security official said Monday.
Earlier Monday, Hamas claimed responsibility for shooting an Israel Electric Corporation worker near the Karni crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel, moderately wounding him.
Salah Adnan Saleh Abdel-Salam was arrested on Friday after he left a mosque in the border city of El-Arish in the Sinai Peninsula, police said.
The 21-year-old Palestinian student was interrogated by Egyptian police and confessed to belonging to Hamas, which he said intended to provide him with an explosive belt and instructions to cross into Israel, according to Captain Mohammed Badr of the North Sinai Peninsula police unit.
Badr said the suspect was transferred to Cairo for further investigation.
Abdel-Salam was a student at Al-Azhar University's college of science and economy in the Gaza Strip, police said. He transferred last year to the same university in Cairo on Hamas' instructions, in order to mislead Israeli security by obtaining legal residency in Egypt, Badr said.
The would-be suicide bomber spent most of his time in El-Arish and rarely attended college in Cairo, Badr said. Ahead of his suicide attack, he had planned to donate a kidney to an Egyptian man. This man tipped authorities about Abdel-Salam's plans, police said.
Egyptian security forces have put the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula on high security alert.
Last Thursday, police said they arrested a potential Palestinian suicide bomber and 10 Egyptians in the area. The Palestinian, identified as Hamid al-Nador, was captured wearing an explosive belt in the beach resort in El-Arish.
The 10 Egyptians were believed to be part of a militant group that has had 60 Egyptian and Palestinian members detained here since February.
Hundreds of Egyptian security forces have been deployed in the zone in search of more suspects.
The Sinai has witnessed a string of deadly terrorist attacks that have killed 125 people in popular tourist resorts since 2004.
Hamas claims responsibility for shooting Israeli near KarniHamas said its gunmen on Monday shot an Israeli man near the Karni crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel, in its first such attack since the Islamist group agreed to a November truce with Israel.
The Israeli was working near the Karni commercial crossing when he was shot and wounded, rescue workers said.
"The [Hamas] Qassam Brigades announced its responsiblity for shooting a Zionist [Israeli] and firing two mortar bombs against a gathering of Zionist soldiers near Karni crossing," the statement said. "Our strikes against the enemy will continue," it added.
Initial reports indicated that the man, identified as an Israel Electric Corporation worker about 40 years of age, sustained moderate injuries to his thigh and that his wounds were not life-threatening. He was taken to Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva for treatment.
The attack, which took place near the gas terminal at Karni, came just two days after Hamas joined Fatah in a unity government which has represented itself as a more moderate coalition than the Hamas cabinet that took power early last year.
It was the first claimed by Hamas's armed wing since the declaration of a November truce, which it had upheld.
"This is not a violation of calm," said Abu Ubaida, spokesman of Hamas' armed wing. "The enemy has been violating calm day and night in the West Bank and in Gaza and we had said calm was conditional," Ubaida said.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office called the attack an example of the Palestinian government's refusal to renounce violence or condemn terrorism.
"This terror attack is precisely what the new Palestinian government refuses to condemn, thus rejecting the conditions placed upon it by the international community," said David Baker, an official in the PMO.
Palestinian nabbed for trying to stab military policewomanAlso Monday, Israel Defense Forces troops arrested a 32-year-old Palestinian woman who attempted to stab a female officer of the military police, at the Hawara checkpoint south of the West Bank city of Nablus.
On Sunday night, an IDF soldier was lightly wounded when a bomb exploded next to a military jeep in the Balata refugee camp, in the West Bank city of Nablus.
Also Sunday, two Qassam rockets landed in the Negev, causing no injuries or damage.
One rocket landed south of Ashkelon, and the other landed in an open field in the western Negev.
The IDF recorded two additional rocket launches, but neither was found to have landed in Israel.