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Israeli Arab Accused of Driving Terrorist from Gaza to Tel Aviv

March 6, 1996
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Israeli officials have arrested an Israeli Arab after accusing him of smuggling from the Gaza Strip into Israel the terrorist who carried out Monday’s suicide bombing in Tel Aviv.

Security officials announced the arrest, which took place the night of the bombing, but released neither the suspect’s name for hometown, fearing reprisals by Israelis.

“It is a very grave matter that an Israeli Arab cooperated with terrorists and smuggled a man into the State of Israel,” Deputy Defense Minister Ori Orr told Israel Radio.

“The question for [the driver] and the Israeli Arab community is whether he knew or not what he was smuggling,” Orr added.

Israel has some 805,000 Arab citizens, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported last September, or 14.4 percent of the country’s total population.

Orr cited a failure on the part of Palestinians and Israelis who carry out security checks at the Gaza border.

But, he added, “I am most angry with the Israelis.”

The Israeli Arab reportedly told investigators that he had agreed to smuggle the Palestinian terrorist into Israel in exchange for $1,100, a sum police doubted given the nature of the task.

The suspect said he drove the Palestinian in his truck to Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv, where he dropped him off.

Minutes later, an explosion took place, claiming 13 lives and wounding more than 100 others.

The suspect claimed that he did not know what his Palestinian passenger was planning to do.

The Tiberias Magistrates Court, which charged the Israeli Arab with having contacts with an enemy organization and with being an accomplice to murder, extended his detention by 14 days.

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