JERUSALEM (Jul. 8)
The head of Israel Defense Force intelligence said this week that Hamas is not interested in carrying out suicide bombing attacks while it works to strengthen its hold in the self-rule areas.
Addressing the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday, Maj. Gen. Moshe Ya’alon said that Hamas members had not taken part in the recent riots in the West Bank town of Hebron and Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip.
But he warned that another fundamentalist group, Islamic Jihad, was interested in carrying out mass terror attacks.
Israeli media reported this week that security forces had received warnings of possible attacks inside Israel.
Ya’alon’s remarks came a day after an Israeli military court sentenced a Hamas terrorist to 46 consecutive life terms for planning suicide bombings in Israel last year.
Hassan Salameh was convicted last week of 46 counts of murder resulting from two bombings on the No. 18 bus in Jerusalem and one at a hitchhiking post near the coastal city of Ashkelon.
In a related development, a Hamas terrorist turned himself in to Palestinian authorities this week in Hebron, four days after breaking out of jail.
The man was among several captured by Israel and the Palestinian Authority after a March suicide bombing in Tel Aviv that killed three people. He was arrested in connection with the murder of an Israeli soldier.
Meanwhile, American officials were said this week to have been involved in efforts to arrange another meeting between the Israeli and Palestinian security agencies.
Security coordination has been operating on a very limited level since the Palestinians broke off peace talks in March, after Israel began construction of a Jewish neighborhood in southeastern Jerusalem.