Israel shuts down airport over terror alert : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread


TEL AVIV [MENL] -- Israel has placed its international airport under siege amid an alert of a terrorist attack.

Police and security forces blocked all entrances to Ben-Gurion Airport. They checked every car entering the facility. Officers also checked vehicles on the highways leading to the airport.

Officials refused to provide details on the terrorist alert. But they said the alert was received on late Sunday and concerned Palestinian plans to drive a car full of explosives into Ben-Gurion.

"We didn't shut down the airport because we felt like it, but because of information," Israeli Transportation Minister Ephraim Sneh said.

The result was a huge traffic jam throughout Monday in the Tel Aviv area. Many travelers left their cars and walked to the airport with back packs.

A terror alert was declared amid a threat by the Islamic opposition Hamas movement to launch 10 bombings in Israel. On Monday, tension rose in Jerusalem when the municipality destroyed 14 Palestinian structures built without licenses in the northern edge of the city.

-- Martin Thompson (, July 09, 2001


There's a plausible reason for Israel to fear Palestinian vengeance. The cycle of violence is spiraling rapidly towards the Point Of No Return.

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Monday July 9 1:26 PM ET

Israel Demolishes Palestinian Homes

By GREG MYRE, Associated Press Writer

Copyright, Associated Press, Fair Use for Education and Research Only

JERUSALEM (AP) - Bulldozers leveled 14 Palestinian homes under construction Monday in one of Israel's biggest demolition operations in years, provoking tears and stone-throwing at a refugee camp on the northern edge of Jerusalem.

In the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian suicide bomber blew up his explosives-laden truck before reaching an Israeli outpost, killing himself but injuring no one else.

The two events further undermined a cease-fire declared nearly a month ago that has yet to quell the violence.

The Palestinians said the demolitions were part of an Israeli effort to restrict their numbers in and around Jerusalem, which both sides claim for their capital. Israel said the homes, still under construction, were built illegally without permits.

The Israelis, meanwhile, said they had given Palestinian police information about the suicide bomber before the attack. ``The Palestinian police didn't do anything about it when they should have prevented it,'' said Israeli Cabinet Secretary Gideon Saar.

The militant Islamic group Hamas claimed responsibility for the bombing and released a videotape of the explosion Monday, a day after warning that a new wave of bombers would go after Israeli targets.

Hamas spiritual leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin said the bombing ``shows there are many martyrs on call who are waiting to ... sacrifice themselves for Palestine.''

In another development, an Israeli army officer, Capt. Shai Shalom Cohen, 22, died Monday of head injuries sustained when a roadside bomb exploded Sunday near the town of Hebron in the West Bank, the army said.

In Jerusalem, the bulldozers and earth movers, backed by hundreds of Israeli policemen, some on horseback, flattened 14 Palestinian homes in the Shuafat refugee camp in northern Jerusalem, the municipality said. City council members said it was the largest demolition campaign in memory.

Some women screamed and others threw stones at Israeli policemen who pushed back the angry crowd. One Palestinian woman, dressed in black, sat cross-legged on the dusty ground near her home in a desperate attempt to block the path of a bulldozer. She began shouting, kicking and weeping until relatives moved her out of harm's way.

The homes were in various stages of construction, and no one was living in them. Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert said the houses were torn down because the builders had no permits.

The houses were being built ``lawlessly on public land, on pathways, on green areas, on areas that do not belong to them,'' the mayor told Israel radio. ``It is a total violation of the law.''

Palestinians have said it is nearly impossible to obtain permits, and that Jerusalem's zoning regulations are aimed at limiting Palestinian population growth in the city.

The demolished homes are a few hundred yards from Pisgat Zeev, a Jewish neighborhood built on land Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war and later annexed.

After the bulldozers and earth movers finished tearing down the Palestinian homes, they drove to the Jewish neighborhood, where several large apartment blocks are under construction.

In the Gaza bomb blast, the explosion went off early Monday near an intersection patrolled by Israeli soldiers and not far from a cluster of Jewish settlements.

The Hamas video showed a white pickup truck disappearing amid black plumes of smoke, as parts of the vehicle were tossed high into the air.

Hamas' military wing, Izzedine al Qassam, identified the suicide bomber as Nafez Saleh al-Nazar, and said he was targeting a nearby Israeli military guard tower. The video also showed al-Nazar before the attack, chanting from the holy Muslim book, or Quran, an M-16 rifle perched beside him.

Al-Nazar, 26, was a messenger in the public relations department at the Islamic University in Gaza City, and the father of two children, ages 3 and 1.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and many of his Cabinet ministers have harshly criticized Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for failing to rein in militants.

Since the cease-fire was declared June 13, 18 Palestinians and 10 Israelis have been killed, and each side has repeatedly accused the other of violations.

-- Robert Riggs (, July 09, 2001.

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