Terrorist Gang Captured After Week of Assaults and Bombings

An Israel Defense Force spokesman announced Tuesday night the capture of a terrorist gang believed responsible for 29 attacks in northern and central Israel during the past year. The suspects belong to the mainstream Fatah wing of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the IDF said.

They are believed responsible for placing 10 booby-trapped devices in Haifa and 10 others in Afula. An explosive charge that detonated near a gasoline station in that Jezreel Valley town last Thursday was the 10th bombing there in 12 months. Other explosives were planted by the gang in a half dozen other population centers around Israel. There were no casualties or damage in Afula.

A man was slightly injured Wednesday when an explosive device detonated in a trash can on a busy corner of Herzl Street in Ramat Gan. He was the 17th casualty in seven days of sporadic assaults on individual Israelis and bombings in public places which the authorities believe were mainly terraristrelated. Two of the casualties were Jerusalem policemen who were knifed by a prisoner in their custody last Friday.

KNIFINGS, SHOOTINGS AND BOMBINGS

An Ethiopian immigrant from Kiryat Arba was stabbed in the back in the Hebron Arab quarter while shopping last Friday. He was treated at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem where his wound was reported to be minor.

Another Israeli was shot and slightly wounded in a Nablus shop last Thursday. A bomb exploded in a Jerusalem supermarket Thursday evening, slightly wounding two women.

The most serious-and bizarre–incident occurred last Friday afternoon when a Gaza Arab, indentified as Ibrahim Jamal, 34, rammed his Volkswagen into a crowded bus stop in the Jerusalem suburb of Karat Yodel.

Eleven persons were injured; seven of them children of whom two were reported in serious condition. Police took Jamal into custody and confiscated a knife found in his car. But at police headquarters in the Russian Compound, the prisoner whose handcuffs had been removed, grabbed the knife and plunged it into the stomach of police officer Yitzhak Silberstein who was guarding him.

He escaped from the building, stabbing another officer, Moshe Raba chi, who tried to stop him. Officer Shalom Cohen chased Jamal down the street, opened fire and wounded him in the shoulder Police are investigating the incident.

Israeli authorities attributed the upsurge of assaults and bombings last week to the 19th anniversary of the start of the Six Day War on June 5. Premier Shimon Peres said the supermarket bombing was intended to mar celebrations of Jerusalem Reunification Day.

Meanwhile, the IDF announced Wednesday that two Arabs were arrested in a house near Elisha village east of Jericho in the West Bank where a cache of landmines was discovered. They are reportedly members of a terrorist gang living in Jericho, Hebron and Bethlehem, suspected of seven attacks in recent months.

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