JERUSALEM (Jan. 5)
Police warned the public again Tuesday not to open suspicious looking mail after a Knesset member reported receiving a letter bomb at his home here.
It was the 11th, or possibly 12th, such device to reach Israel since Dec. 30, when a letter bomb mailed from Istanbul injured two residents of Or Yehuda near Tel Aviv.
On the same date, postal workers detected nine other letter bombs before they were delivered. All were safely defused and the public was immediately alerted. Photos of the letter bombs appeared in the press and on television and manual mail sorting replaced mechanical sorting at post offices all over the country because the devices are more easily detected by hand.
Member of Knesset Menachem Porush of Agudat Yisrael told Israel Radio that he became suspicious of a large, white envelope with a stiff card inside while he and his secretary were opening his mail Tuesday. The envelope bore the name of N. Nissim and a return address in Istanbul.
According to Porush, his secretary opened it, but did not remove the card–a Christmas greeting. The device did not explode. Police confirmed that it was similar to the earlier letter bombs, all of which were sent under the same name and return address.
The police are also searching for a letter bomb reported a week ago by a Givatayim resident who said he thought it was junk mail and threw it into a trash can without opening the envelope.
The Israeli police are maintaining close contact with the Turkish authorities and Interpol, the international clearinghouse for information on criminals and criminal activity. They said the letter bombs received in Israel, the first since 1972, contain several grams of explosives, not enough to be lethal but sufficient to cause serious injuries to face or hands.
(Tel Aviv correspondent Hugh Orgel contributed to this report.)