Palestinian police discover West Bank bomb lab
July 21, 1997
Web posted at: 10:20 a.m. EDT (1420 GMT)
JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Palestinian police found explosives and other bomb-making materials at a West Bank apartment on Monday. Three Palestinians were arrested.
The apartment in Beit Sahour, a village outside Bethlehem,
was being used by the Islamic militant group Hamas to prepare
a bombing attack, police said.
Jewish religious prayer shawls, wigs, false beards and
Israeli army uniforms were found with the explosives. Bombers
and kidnappers often pose as religious Jews or Israeli
soldiers to enter Israel and carry out attacks, officials
"We found live TNT, hydrogen, chemicals, acids, timers and
watches." said Bethlehem area police chief Col. Kamal
Among the materials found were 30 kilograms of explosives
contained in a device ready to be detonated.
"Only experts can prepare these explosives," he said.
Hamas has carried out a series of bomb attacks that killed
scores of Israelis. The most recent attack took place in
March, when a suicide bombing in a Tel Aviv cafe killed three
Israeli women and the bomber.
Hamas opposes Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat's
peace accord with the Israeli government.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted coolly to
the discovery of the bomb factory.
"I would like to see these efforts made continuously and not
only as a result of pressure after the exposure of the
gravest activity by the Palestinian police," Netanyahu said.
On Sunday, Netanyahu lashed out at Arafat's Palestinian
Authority over alleged involvement of Palestinian police in
plans to attack Jewish settlers.
The Palestinian police denied it was involved in attacks
against Israelis. Arafat ordered an inquiry, and on Sunday
Palestinian police arrested at least four police officers.
The Palestinian-Israeli peace process has effectively been
frozen since March, when the Netanyahu government decided to
go ahead with the controversial construction of a Jewish
housing project on the outskirts of Jerusalem.
Arafat has accused Netanyahu of going back on the peace
agreements signed by both sides, but the Israeli government
has rejected the accusations.
Correspondent Jerrold Kessel and Reuters contributed to this
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