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PA Blames Israel for Dimona Blast


A spokesman for Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has charged that Israel's policies are to blame for the suicide bombing in Dimona Monday morning, Voice of Israel government radio reported.

Fayyad, a member of Fatah, was backed by the Bush administration and is considered a practical moderate by the American, Israeli and European governments.

Three different terrorist organizations have taken responsibility for the bombing, including the Fatah-aligned Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades. Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) also claimed they were behind the attack.

Suicide Bomber Strikes in Dimona Near Israel's Nuclear Reactor

By Israel Faxx News Services

Two Palestinian suicide bombers struck the southern Israeli city of Dimona, killing, according to one news report, at least three Israelis and injuring many others. Witnesses said a huge explosion rocked a downtown shopping area in Dimona, about six miles from the site of Israel's Dimona nuclear reactor.

Dimona police official Uri Barlev told Israel's Army Radio two attackers were involved. He said one attacker detonated his explosive belt, but the other attacker was shot and killed before he could act.

A faction of the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade group, which is affiliated with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement claimed responsibility for the attack. Abu Walid is a spokesman for the group.

Walid said the attack was a joint effort carried out by al-Aksa militants and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. He said they wanted to show they could strike at what he describes as Israel's most secure city.

A statement issued by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack, but he also criticized Israel for a military operation early Monday in the West Bank that killed several terrorists. Israeli warplanes also struck the northern Gaza Strip, killing a senior Palestinian terrorist.

Hamas' governing murderers in the Gaza Strip praised the Dimona bombing, calling it a glorious act.

Dimona is about 36 miles from Israel's border with Egypt. The bombing confirmed the fears of Israeli security officials, who have warned that Palestinian militants, who managed to leave the Gaza Strip during the past week because Gaza's border with Egypt had been breached, would attack Israelis by crossing into Israel along the porous Sinai border.

The attack was the first suicide bombing in Israel since January 2007, when a Palestinian killed three Israelis in the southern resort city, Eilat, after crossing into Israel from Egypt.

The two Palestinians wearing bomb belts walked through a shopping area early Monday in the Negev town, police said. The first blew himself up and the second was felled by the blast. When a doctor stripped him to administer aid spotted a bomb belt, Police Chief Inspector Kobi Mor shot the terrorist dead with a bullet to the head. The explosive vest was detonated in a controlled explosion by police sappers.

The wounded were all transported to Be'er Sheva's Soroka Hospital, where one person was admitted in critical condition and two others in moderate condition. Some 14 others were treated for light injuries and dozens of others for psychological shock All were later released. Doctors had been fighting to save the life of a critically injured man, who was in surgery to remove what one hospital source said were almost a thousand bits of shrapnel in his stomach and torso.

Jihad praised the attack, but said that initial reports that it took "credit" were "Israeli fabrications." Gaza residents celebrated word of the attack by dancing in the streets and handing out sweets.

Police launched searches in and around Dimona, as well as trying to prevent crowds from gathering at the bomb-site, fearing additional bombers. The alert level has been raised all across Israel, particularly along the seam-line, Jerusalem region and southern towns near the Egypt border.

David, a lottery store owner in the commercial center recounted the attack to Army Radio: "Suddenly I heard an explosion. It was unbelievable...unbelievable. I saw parts of bodies flying toward me, toward my store. Security forces immediately closed down the commercial center, saying, 'There are still suspicious things here.'"

Dina, another resident of Dimona, said, "I heard a boom and at first I thought it was a gas balloon exploding. It was fortunate that at this hour, all the children were in school and very few, if any, were in the area at the time. But people here are hysterical. This has never happened in Dimona and people cannot believe it. You have no idea what is going on in this town right now."

Later on Monday, Hamas' armed wing told Reuters that it claimed responsibility for the bombing. Both the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility for the attack earlier in the day.

Abu Found, a spokesman for the Fatah-allied Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades - which first claimed responsibility for the attack - said the operation had been planned for a month, but was made possible after militants violently opened Gaza's border with Egypt on January 23. He said the attackers sneaked into Egypt after the border breach, then crossed into Israel using unspecified private contacts. He added that Dimona was chosen because it has never been hit before.

Dr. Michael Serf, the director of Soroka Medical Center, said the bomb had been packed with ball bearings, making the impact more potent.

David Dayan, a 58-year-old man disabled by a hip injury, had just finished his morning cup of coffee at a local cafe when the blast went off about two meters away. "There was a great explosion and a great ball of fire came toward me," said Dayan, who uses a walker to get around. "I saw him (the bomber) fall. I was hit, but I held on to my walker... My clothes were covered with his flesh."

Dayan's eye was covered with bloody bandages, and ball bearings were lodged inside his chest and the swollen left side of his face. A leg and arm were also injured.

Yellow Fatah flags flew outside the Gaza home of one of the attackers, 22-year-old Lay Afghani, and Al Aqsa gunmen fired in the air in tribute to him. His sobbing mother, Intisar, held up a picture of him as a young teenager, while male relatives scolded her for crying, saying she should be proud her son was a martyr.

She said her son had gone to Egypt three times after the border was breached, and last saw him on Wednesday afternoon. He gave no indication that he was about to embark on a suicide mission, she said. The other attacker was named as 24-year-old Mousse Arafat.

Monday's unquestionable hero in Israel was Mor, the police officer who shot the second suicide bomber in Dimona and managed to foil a double terror attack. Later on Monday, Mor told reporters about the drama which took place at the southern town's commercial center.

"When I arrived at the area, one of the people told me that there was a terrorist there who was still alive. I pulled out my gun and saw him reaching towards the explosive belt. I fired at the terrorist, along with another sapper who fired at him.

"The terrorist's hand dropped and began twitching. I thought he was dying, but two minutes later he raised his hand again. I went into a kneeling position and fired four more shots at his head."

According to the inspector, "during the incident I didn't feel anything. The moment I clearly identified the suicide bomber laying on the ground and I saw the white explosive belt on him – I acted according to the models I was taught. The reactions are instinctive and you don't think about anything except for saving human life. At the same time, I directed my other teams to evacuate everybody from the area."

Alert Level Raised Nationwide as PA Terrorists Step Up Attacks


Police increased alert levels throughout the country on Monday following a deadly suicide bombing in Dimona and an escalation in attacks on motorists by Palestinian Authority terrorists.

There will be a heavier police presence in crowded public areas Monday and Tuesday, along with intensified law enforcement operations aimed at catching illegal entrants from PA-controlled areas. In the western Negev, IDF soldiers were deployed Monday night to search for two Gaza Arabs who had reportedly managed to penetrate Israel by way of the Egyptian border. Defense officials have expressed concern that additional terrorists may have infiltrated Israel from the Sinai Peninsula.

PA terrorists opened fire on an Israeli vehicle on the road between Far Saba and the Jewish communities of Cadmium and Gigot Shoran in Samaria on Monday evening. No one was injured in the shooting, but the incident represents a sharp escalation over previous stone-throwing attacks on Israeli vehicles in the region. Several cars were stoned Sunday and Monday, causing extensive damage.

Jewish residents in the area said they are frustrated by the ongoing attacks. A flier was discovered near the Arab village of Amount Monday warning the community that Jews will begin shooting if the stoning continue.

An Israeli motorist was lightly injured when PA attackers threw rocks at cars near Hebron on Monday night. The victim, an Israeli Arab, was wounded in the eye by shards of glass from a shattered windshield. In other PA terrorist attacks, Israeli vehicles were targeted by firebombs on Monday northeast of Ramallah and between Yasir and Revive. An Israeli bus was pelted with stones on Monday evening near Ramallah, as well. No injuries were reported in the latter incidents.

Rabbi Aviner: Divorcees Are Just As Valuable, If Not More So


In an article recently published in the Rosh Yehuda (Jewish Mindset) pamphlet, the Rabbi of Bet El and spiritual leader of the Religious Zionist movement, Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, called on Orthodox Jews to change their deeply entrenched prejudices against divorced women, and to start judging people based upon their character rather than their past marital status.

"Divorcees are just like all other women, they do not have horns," the rabbi noted. "As a matter of fact, these women are probably more worthwhile because of their previous experience with married life."

Aviner went on to state that divorcees have "feelings and emotions like all other women, and are just as God fearing, dependable and worthy as their never married counterparts. I have no idea where all of the evil stereotypes regarding divorcees originated. These women do not have horns on their heads; in fact they probably have a far broader and more mature outlook on life."

Addressing Orthodox men's reluctance to marry divorcees, Aviner stated that "one must naturally take the time to find out whether there is some character flaw in the person in question that brought about the divorce, but as a general rule you should always take the time to assess your future spouses' character and nature before marriage, whether or not they were previously married."

Strong faith, fear of God and dependability, explained the rabbi, are all traits that one can most definitely find in a divorcee. "Divorcees do not fall short of other women in this respect, and their feelings and emotions must also be respected."

In that vane, the rabbi stated that divorced Orthodox women should be allowed a second chance at marriage, not only with a widower or fellow divorcee but even with a single man. "One must not marry right off the bat like a blind fool," advised the rabbi. "A couple who marries must be well matched and compatible. That being said, "We must judge each individual based on their character rather than their past marital status."

Germany Launches Comic Book on Holocaust

By Reuters

German schools will launch a comic book next week that aims to teach above all underprivileged children about the Nazi era and the Holocaust.

Although German schools already make a big effort to give pupils a thorough education about the Nazi era, racist violence remains a problem, and the revival of Germany's Jewish community has brought a rise in anti-Semitism with it.

The Tintin-style comic book is called "The Search," and tells the story of Esther, a fictional Jewish survivor of the Holocaust.

Created by the Dutch cartoonist Eric Heuvel, it is already available in the Netherlands. Berlin's Anne Frank Centre, which is backing the project, thinks it will serve a purpose in Germany, too.

"There is not a major gap in the way Germany teaches the history of this era, but this is a new approach," said spokeswoman Melina Feingold, noting that the book could reach some of the children who are least interested in schoolwork: We hope the comic will get even underprivileged kids interested in learning about the Holocaust."

The 61-page book, already available in various European languages, will be used alongside worksheets in history classes at secondary schools in Berlin for six months, after which the project hopes to go nationwide. The book, based on fact, describes how Jews in Germany and the Nazi-occupied Netherlands experienced the genocidal Nazi persecution that took the lives of 6 million European Jews.

It includes the Night of Broken Glass in November 1938, when Jews were beaten and their homes, businesses and synagogues were ransacked and, later on, the deportations to the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Through pictures and realistic dialogue, the book depicts the suffering and humiliation that Jews endured as they were stripped of their livelihoods, ostracized and, finally, sent to camps to be worked to death or gassed.

After five decades when it had only a handful of Jewish residents, Germany now has the world's fastest growing Jewish community, with 220,000 arriving from the former Soviet Union since 1990. But violent anti-Semitic crime is also increasing. Last month, five Jewish teenagers were attacked by a group of punks and subjected to anti-Semitic abuse.

The new comic book is a sequel to Heuvel's "The Discovery," also aimed at school children, based on Jewish history in Europe from 1933 to 1940.

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