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Police have been holding a 22-year-old Haifa man and his 54-year-old father in custody since Wednesday on suspicion of involvement in making and planting bombs over the last three years, aimed mostly at Arab targets in the Haifa area. The police claim the younger man admitted that he was driven by hatred of Arabs - and of Jews who are friendly with them - in planting nine home-made bombs.

The suspect, Eliran Golan, lives with his father Meir, and the police discovered in their home two suitcases: one containing 16 large home-made explosive devices and 18 smaller ones, ready for use, and the other containing six powerful nail guns, ammunition, a security guard's uniform and a kaffiyeh. Police also found a home-made mortar-launcher in the Golan home.

Police suspect that Meir Golan, a civilian employed by the Israel Defense Forces, was aware of his son's activities, but did not report him to the authorities. While Eliran Golan remained silent in court on Wednesday when they were remanded into custody, his father simply shouted, "I know nothing! Nothing!"

Northern District Police Commander Yaakov Borovsky called the affair "one of the worst that has been exposed in recent years."

Among others, Eliran Golan targeted Hadash MK Issam Makhoul, whose wife was traumatized but not physically injured when the bomb went off after she started their car in October 2003.

The bombing spree began in July 2001 and included a mosque, where an elderly woman was moderately wounded when she entered the building. But Golan apparently ceased his activity for nearly two years, resuming it only in October 2003.

Police say Golan has admitted to preparing bombs and planting them near Arab targets, and report that he did so for ideological reasons.

Golan, who said he regarded himself as a far-right activist, was discharged from the army for psychological reasons, and his court-appointed public defender used that argument during the remand hearing as she sought a court order to send him for psychiatric observation. Instead, the court remanded the son and his father into police custody for six days.

The younger Golan also told police he had formed a secret underground organization - and, indeed, after one of his first bombing attempts, he wrote a handwritten letter to the daily Maariv, which the paper handed over to police, claiming that the target of that attempt had been behind a suicide bombing in Haifa and was the first of many Arabs who would be attacked by a group.

Details of the affair, which were released for publication late yesterday afternoon, were disclosed at a press conference held by Borovsky.

Golan allegedly planted bombs under the cars and near the homes of Arab residents of Haifa. He also supposedly hid explosive devices near the homes of Jewish women who he believed had befriended Arabs, and planted a bomb aimed at his employer at a delivery service, Lior Flick. Indeed, it was the bombing attempt on Flick that apparently led police to Golan, when they noticed that that bomb had been made in the same way as other devices that had either been found intact or had exploded since 2001.

Flick said yesterday that he could not understand what Golan might have had against him. According to his former employer, Golan claimed to have been a veteran of an elite army unit, but he rode a bicycle - which is unusual for a delivery man - instead of using a motor scooter, since he did not have a driver's license.

Police refused to comment on Golan's army service, but sources said he did serve for a while in a combat engineer's unit, but was released on psychiatric grounds, which could explain why he did not have a driver's license.

Police sources said the bombs, made from easily available supplies, were very carefully constructed, and they added that Golan apparently began making them even before he went into the army.

Information uncovered during the course of the police interrogation indicated that Golan had planned to carry out terror attacks against MK Mohammed Barakeh and MK Ahmed Tibi of Hadash, and MK Azmi Bishara of Balad, the National Democratic Alliance.