MK's Wife Unhurt After Bomb Explodes Under Her Car

A small incendiary device exploded on Friday underneath a car belonging to the wife of MK Issam Makhoul (Hadash-Ta'al), which was parked outside their home on Haifa's Hanesi Boulevard.

According to Makhoul, he and his wife, Su'ad, had been on their way out of the house when the device exploded.

"My wife was sitting in the car, a Honda, which is the car I usually drive, and was planning to collect our 10-year-old twins from their school. The Honda was parked next to the Ford vehicle I was sitting in. Suddenly I heard a blast, I looked over and saw the car engulfed in flames. My wife managed to get out of the car unsctahed."

Makhoul believes he, rather than his wife, was the target of the attack. He added that he had not received any unusual threats in recent days or weeks, and described the attack as "a worrying escalation in violence toward Knesset members, which should be urgently dealt with." He added that the device was probably planted for nationalistic motives.

The Haifa Magistrates Court issued a gag order on the release of information related to the incident, Israel Radio reported. Police said they have no leads in the investigation, the radio said Saturday.

Knesset Speaker MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud) called MK Makhoul to express his shock at the incident. Rivlin later said that he decided to provide Makhoul with security guards immediately.

Army Radio quoted Knesset security officials as saying that there were warnings of attempts to hurt Arab MKs, which are presumed to be connected to criminal elements in the Arab sector, and not to right-wing extremists. There are warnings on the possibility of attacks on Hadash MKs Mohammed Barakeh and Ahmed Tibi, the radio said.

Haifa mayor Yona Yahav said the attack was yet another failed attempt to interrupt Arab-Jewish cooperation in the city, the radio reported.

Police said the blast was caused by an explosive device weighing less than a kilogram placed underneath the car.

Makhoul said he didn't know who might have been behind the blast, but called it an attack on democracy.

"It's hard for me to say who did it," he told Israel Radio. "I don't have any personal enemies ... I see it as part of a threat to democracy."

Makhoul is one of 10 Arab lawmakers in Israel's 120 member parliament.