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PA: Would-Be Tel Aviv Bomber Not a Hamas Terrorist


Palestinian Authority officials have denied an Israeli claim that a would-be suicide bomber who drove to Tel Aviv to carry out an attack over the Passover holiday was a member of Hamas. The car, which Shin Bet officials said contained at least 100 kg of explosives, later blew up in the backyard of a home in Kalkilya. No injuries were reported in the explosion, which Israeli officials labeled a "work accident."

Pesach Massacre Averted: Hamas Mass Murder Car was in Tel Aviv


For as yet unknown reasons, a massive Hamas terror attack intended to take place in the Tel Aviv area during the Passover Seder was averted. A similar attack five years ago killed 30 people in Netanya and triggered the IDF's Operation Defensive Shield.

The General Security Service (Shabak) released the news of the near-attack while announcing that it had arrested 19 Hamas terrorists in Kalkilye who were involved with this and other planned attacks.

The Shabak said that a Hamas terrorist had successfully entered the Greater Tel Aviv area in a car laden with 100 kg. (220 lbs) of explosives before Passover. Besides the explosives, it contained large amounts of shrapnel material, intended to maximize carnage. For reasons that are not yet known, the attack was not carried out and the terrorist drove the car back to Kalkilya, from where it had come. The car exploded in Kalkilya, in what the Shabak said was a 'work accident.'

Some reports say the suicide terrorist simply "changed his mind." The terrorist carries a blue Israeli ID card as a result of his marriage to an Arab-Israeli. The would-be suicide terrorist was able to drive the car into Tel Aviv with the help of his Israeli ID card, which he received as a result of his marriage (or his father's, according to some versions) to an Arab-Israeli from Taibeh. The ID made it easy for him to drive past IDF roadblocks from Kalkilya – which is under Hamas/Palestinian Authority control – into the nearby Tel Aviv area. His vehicle also carried Israel license plates.

Security officials note that Arab terror organizations routinely make use of family ties to Israeli-Arabs in order to facilitate terror attacks.

Kalkilya, east of Raanana, is surrounded by the partition fence on three sides, part of which is a tall concrete wall. PA affairs correspondent Haggai Huberman notes the irony: "While the State of Israel spends billions of shekels on walls and fences, at the same time it issues Palestinian terrorists Israeli ID cars so that the terrorists can turn the wall/fence into a mockery and cross them easily."

Huberman added that the Shabak has admitted that Israel's attempt to prevent harm to the fabric of life of the Arabs of Kalkilya and nearby "allows free movement to those with Israeli ID cards, and even those with PA identity cards, in and out of Kalkilya."

"We also see," Huberman noted, "that specifically in Kalkilya, one of the quieter PA cities, Hamas terrorists are now working to carry out major attacks, after spending time building their capabilities to do so. The stage of 'building the force' has passed, and the process is now in the stage of 'carrying out attacks.' Even after the arrest of the 19, attacks are still being planned, including in the immediate short-range."

The Kalkilya Hamas infrastructure was responsible for the massacre of 21 young Israelis outside the Dolphinarium discotheque in June 2001. After a period of dormancy it has now rebuilt itself, according to security officials. The officials say that from November 2006, Hamas has been upgrading its terror abilities in Judea and Samaria, and preparing attacks that can be carried out at short notice. Iran and Syria have been assisting this project.

The Shabak recently carried out numerous arrests among Hamas terrorists in the Kalkilya area, after a period in which the local Hamas cell grew and developed its abilities to carry out attacks. The GSS action was intended to prevent attacks during the Pesach holiday. The results of the interrogations which followed showed that the Hamas terror infrastructure in Kalkilya was working on several attacks simultaneously.

The officials said that Hamas has switched phases from preparation of the attacks to implementation, and is now planning to launch additional attacks.

Palestinian President, Israeli Prime Minister to Meet

By Jim Teeple (VOA-Jerusalem)

Palestinian and Israeli leaders are going to be meeting soon as part of a recent agreement to hold regular talks. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he will meet next week with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Abbas made the announcement while on a visit Tuesday to the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Olmert's office had no comment on the matter.

Both men pledged to hold regular meetings during last month's trip to the Middle East by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who said the talks would focus on what she described as benchmarks for future progress such as stopping Palestinian rocket fire from the Gaza Strip and easing Israeli restrictions on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

Sociology professor Nader Said, of Bir Zeit University in the West Bank city of Ramallah, says Palestinians do not expect much from the talks because Abbas is perceived by many Palestinians as weak.

"Mr. Abbas has the will and the desire. He is a true peacemaker, he wants to see peace is achieved under his rule," said Said. "However, in the past few years the Palestinian Authority has been stripped of any real authority in the West Bank and Gaza, mostly in the West Bank where you can see no real achievements being made. People not only blame him for that, but they also blame the Israelis and the Americans who did not give him anything."

Olmert said he would talk with Abbas, but he will only discuss humanitarian issues, because the new Hamas-dominated Palestinian unity government has not moved to recognize Israel. Gidi Grinstein, who heads the Reut Institute that advises the Israeli government on strategic issues, said Israel also has problems with Abbas' Fatah movement.

"There is a political impasse where Hamas rejects any idea of a comprehensive agreement with Israel that brings an end of conflict or finality to claim," said Grinstein. "And Fatah rejects any interim agreement that establishes the Palestinian state with provisional borders."

Weizmann Scientists: Finding May Help Heal Injured Muscle Tissue


A discovery by scientists at the Weizmann Institute has shed light on the process of natural muscle formation which may lead to new and advanced methods for healing muscle. The research focuses on the way that cell membranes fuse into one larger cell, a stage of muscle development that has long been a mystery to the scientific world.

The study was carried out by research student Rada Massarwa and lab technician Shari Carmon under the guidance of Dr. Eyal Schejter and Prof. Ben-Zion Shilo of the Institute's Molecular Genetics Department. An article describing these findings appears in the April 10th edition of the journal Developmental Cell.

The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, is one of the world's top-ranking multidisciplinary research institutions. Noted for its wide-ranging exploration of the natural and exact sciences, the Institute is home to 2,500 scientists, students, technicians and supporting staff.

The scientists discovered that a protein called WIP plays a key role in muscle cell fusion. The protein attaches to the internal part of the cell and triggers off a process which opens holes that allow the cells to merge.

Versions of WIP protein exist in all animals, from microorganisms such as yeast, through worms and flies, and up to humans. The Weizmann team found that studies conducted on this protein in fruit flies can teach us quite a bit about how it works in humans.

To further examine the role of WIP, the research team knocked out the gene responsible for producing it in fruit flies. In flies that did not make the protein, normal muscle fibers were not produced. Though the first stages of muscle development did occur - namely the initial grouping together of cells - fusion between the cell membranes did not take place since they were WIP-deficient.

The findings may lead to ways of fusing stem cells with injured or degenerated muscle fibers. In addition, fusion between cell membranes plays a key role in development of different kinds of bone cells, placental cells and immune system cells, as well as in fertilization and in the penetration of viruses into living cells. Understanding how membrane fusion takes place may one day lead to the development of ways to encourage the process when it is needed or hinder it when it is liable to cause harm.

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