Palestinian police in Gaza have rounded up some Hamas activists in connection with a foiled truck bombing near the southern Israeli town of Beersheba.
At the same time, Israeli police detained a Bedouin from the village of Tel Sheva, where the truck was discovered, on suspicion that he aided the two Hamas terrorists arrested in connection with the vehicle.
The incident occurred Monday night near Tel Sheva. Two policemen, suspicious of truck bearing Gaza license plates, had approached the vehicle. The driver of the truck hit one of the police over the head with a crowbar and then fled with the second occupant.
The truck was filled with several dozen pounds of explosives packed in cartons and plastic crates. Border police sappers were called to the site and safely with the second occupant.
On Tuesday, police arrested two suspects, both residents of Gaza City, who later told investigators that they were planning a suicide bombing in Beersheba.
“By finding the bomb, a major attack was aborted,” Police Commissioner Assaf Hefetz told Army Radio.
Hamas was also believed responsible for Sunday’s terrorist attack on a bus in Hebron, in which two Jewish settlers were killed.
In response to Monday’s foiled attack, the Israeli government barred the entry of Palestinian vehicles from the Gaza Strip.
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin also canceled talks on the release of Palestinian prisoners.
Earlier this month, Israel had announced that the ministerial committee on the matter would resume meeting, as part of a number of confidence-building gestures in negotiations with the Palestinians.
Freih Abu Medein, the Palestinian Authority official in charge affairs, reacted angrily to Rabin’s move, calling him a dictator by using the talks on prisoner releases as a means to pressure the Palestinians.