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Israeli security officials busy in wake of Tel Aviv cafe blast

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JERUSALEM, March 25 (JTA) — Israeli security officials remained busy this week as a result of last week’s suicide bombing in a Tel Aviv cafe. Israeli police on Tuesday released three Arab Israeli residents of Umm el-Fahm who had been suspected of being involved in the attack, which killed three women and wounded dozens of others. As the nation remained on high alert, top Israeli security officials said a number of terrorist attacks had been thwarted in recent days. Meanwhile, Israeli-Palestinian clashes continued in the West Bank. Both Israeli and Palestinian forces dispersed Palestinian rioters in Hebron and outside Rachel’s Tomb near Bethlehem. As in disturbances earlier in the week, the Israeli soldiers used tear gas and rubber bullets to break up the demonstrations. As investigators continued their probe into the bombing, they were trying to determine whether the bomber, who had worked in Israeli restaurants in the Tel Aviv area, had brought the explosives with him from the territories or if he had received them in Israel. The three Arab Israeli men, freed hours after their arrests became public Tuesday, were arrested Saturday. Their names had been found on a note in the pocket of the suicide bomber, 28-year-old Moussa Ghneimat. Police have determined that the men had no direct connection to the bomber, a resident of the Hebron area. One of the suspects said the note was a business card from his company, which bought poultry from the bomber’s family. Meanwhile, security officials remain split over specific details concerning the attack, but they agree that the Tel Aviv cafe was a deliberate target. In addition to questioning the bomber’s family and friends, Israeli security officials have been arresting Hamas and Islamic Jihad activists in areas under its control in the territories.

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