Post Office Gets Back to Work After One-day Freeze Due to Letter Bomb

The Israel Postal Company said last night it was ready to resume normal deliveries today after services were brought to a day-long freeze when a resident of Migdal Ha'emek received a letter bomb.

The bomb, which arrived in an envelope in the northern town, was destroyed in a controlled explosion by police sappers. No one was hurt, and the police said they were investigating whether the motive was criminal or political.

The police also issued security guidelines instructing the public to check whether mail is suspiciously heavy, strangely shaped, double packed, contains electric wires, or has a message written on it such as "personal" or "urgent," especially in a foreign language. If there is any suspicion, the police's advice is to stay away from the envelope or package and call emergency number 100.

The woman, who can only be identified as S., received two envelopes from the Migdal Ha'emek post office yesterday morning. She found a suspicious item in one of them and phoned the police, who called in the sappers. Both envelopes were blown up by a remotely operated police robot.

S., a single parent, told Haaretz she had no idea why she got the bomb. "It's like a strange dream," she said. "I really want it to be over. I'm not under any threat and I have no idea who's behind this. At first I thought it was some kind of a joke, but I realized within seconds it was serious. I put the envelope on the floor and called the police."

She also said the incident made her fear for her son's life. "I hope the police find whoever did this as fast as possible," S. said.

The police, meanwhile, are imposing a gag order on the investigation, saying only that nothing is being ruled out - including the possibility that the letter bomb was part of a political or nationalist campaign. The police are not ruling out that other mail bombs may be on the way.

Other questions include whether security regulations at the postal service included the possibility of mail bombings, and if they did, whether someone at the company had been negligent.

The police will investigate how the envelopes passed through the company's sorting system before reaching S.'s home. The police may also consider adjusting regulations to the possibility of further bombing attempts.

"Whoever sent it managed to get into the system despite security checks. This is inconceivable. Whoever gets the next bomb may be a lot less vigilant than S.," a police source told Haaretz.

Sources at the postal service told Haaretz that the company didn't have a mechanism to check all packages arriving at sorting offices from Israel and abroad. "We selectively check suspicious packages, but we can't check every one," one source said.

The company, however, stressed that it was following regulations provided by the police. So-called dirty envelopes with drugs or weapons are caught in the post about once a week. According to the company, this is the first time such an envelope got past its checks since an anthrax-like powder reached an addressee during the Gulf War 19 years ago.