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Hamas Recruitment Center in Jerusalem Shut Down


Police have shut down a Hamas recruitment center operating in Jerusalem. Local Arabs claimed the center was merely an "education club."

Police said the center, located in the capital's Sur Bahir neighborhood, is run by Hamas members and funded by the Islamist group. The center has operated since 2000 and reportedly recruits young people to serve as Hamas terrorists.

Israel Beefs Up Security after Suicide Bombing

By Robert Berger (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli security forces remain on high alert Wednesday morning after the first suicide bombing in a year, which took place Monday in southern Israel. The Jewish state is considering a number of options in response to the attack.

Israeli police and soldiers have beefed up patrols in crowded public places such as bus stations and malls. There are warnings that more Palestinian terrorists have infiltrated Israel after the first suicide bombing in the desert town of Dimona.

One Israeli was killed in the attack, but it could have been much worse. A second Palestinian bomber was killed by police before he could detonate the explosives strapped to his body.

Police are investigating claims by Palestinian groups that the bombers infiltrated Israel from the unfenced border with the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula. They are said to have crossed into Egypt after terrorists destroyed the border wall between the Gaza Strip and Egypt two weeks ago. That enabled hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to cross into Egypt unchecked.

Israeli Cabinet ministers will meet Wednesday to discuss building a fence on the porous, 150-mile-long border with Egypt.

Cabinet Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer said a fence is a necessity now that the Gaza-Egypt border has been breached. He told Israel Radio that the fence could be completed in a year.

The Islamic terrorist group Hamas, which rules Gaza, was one of the Palestinian organizations that claimed responsibility for the bombing. It was the first such claim by Hamas since 2004, and it prompted this threat from Israeli parliamentarian Tzahi Hanegbi.

Hanegbi, who heads parliament's influential Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said Israel should assassinate the political leaders of Hamas. He told Israel Radio that assassinations have been an effective deterrent in the past, and he said, no Hamas leader should be immune.

Hamas brushed off the threats. The group said it would not be intimidated by what it described as Israeli "terrorism and crimes."

Israeli Forces Kill Nine Hamas Terrorists in Gaza

By VOA News

Terrorists from Gaza launched more than 15 rockets Tuesday, wounding at least five Israelis in the town of Sderot. And Israeli forces have killed nine Palestinian Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip, one day after the group purportedly carried out a suicide bombing in Israel.

An Israeli air strike on a Hamas police post in southern Gaza killed seven members of the group Tuesday. Hours later, another Israeli air raid in northern Gaza wounded three Palestinians.

Earlier, Israeli troops operating in southern Gaza shot and killed two Hamas terrorists. Hamas claimed "full responsibility" for Monday's suicide bombing that killed an Israeli woman in the southern Israeli town of Dimona. It is the first time since 2004 that Hamas has asserted it was behind a suicide attack inside Israel.

Hamas said the two attackers came from the West Bank city of Hebron, refuting another militant group's claim that the bombers were from Gaza and crossed into Egypt before entering Israel.

Members of Hamas blasted open parts of the Gaza-Egypt border barrier last month, allowing Gazans to enter Egypt freely, until Egyptian authorities sealed the boundary on Sunday.

Egypt's foreign minister called on Hamas today to return control of the main border crossing to EU observers and the government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

'Another Bomber Infiltrated, Ready for Attack'


In addition to two bombers involved in Monday's suicide attack in Israel, one more suicide bomber has infiltrated the Jewish state with explosives and is poised to carry out an imminent attack, according to senior terrorist sources speaking to WND.

"There are three bombers who made it inside Israel. The third is inside. We won't say where, but he has explosives, and we lost contact with him," said a senior terrorist source, speaking from the Gaza Strip.

Israeli security sources said they commenced a search for a third bomber but cautioned in the past terrorists have lied while claiming of more bombers inside Israel.

The suicide bombers had crossed into Israel from Egypt after Gaza-based militants 12 days ago blew up the Gaza-Egypt border wall, allowing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to stream into the Egyptian Sinai desert.

Yuval Diskin, chief of Israel's Shin Bet Security Services, warned during a speech to the Knesset that some Palestinian terrorists who crossed into the Egyptian Sinai desert the past two weeks relocated themselves to form terror cells in strategic areas bordering Egypt.

The Shin Bet chief said Israeli intelligence is aware of at least 20 specific locations at the Israel-Egypt border currently in use by Palestinian terrorists in attempts to infiltrate the Jewish state to carry out attacks. He said security has been boosted at those locations, but he stressed the need for Israel to immediate construct a security fence along the entire Israel-Egypt border.

Police to Investigate Olmert for Negotiating Jerusalem's Future


The police have received a criminal complaint against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for discussing the future of Jerusalem with a foreign entity - in violation of the Jerusalem Law. However, the police have not reported any progress on investigating the matter.

The complaint was originally filed a month ago by Jerusalem attorney Baruch Ben-Yosef, on behalf of the Victims of Arab Terror International organization, headed by Shifra Hoffman. On Monday, Ben-Yosef sent a reminder to the police, asking why he had not heard from them regarding his complaint.

"On Jan.6," Ben-Yosef wrote, "a complaint was submitted to your office [that of the Jerusalem District Police Commissioner - ed.] regarding intent to perpetrate a crime according to Basic Law: Jerusalem, in that the Prime Minister announced his government's willingness to negotiate with a foreign and hostile entity regarding the division of Jerusalem.

"Ever since the complaint was filed," Ben-Yosef wrote, "and despite the fact that the above negotiations have actually commenced, we have not heard of any progress in the investigation. I request to be advised as to what has been done regarding this matter."

Clause 6 of "Basic Law: Jerusalem, the Capital of Israel" states, "No authorities over the area of Jerusalem currently under the purview of the State of Israel or the Jerusalem Municipality shall be given over to any foreign political or governmental entity, or any other similar foreign entity, neither permanently or temporarily." Clause 5 states that the Old City and other areas liberated by Israel during the Six Day War are an integral part of Jerusalem for the purposes of this law.

Clause 7 states that the preceding two clauses can be changed only if such a change is supported by a full majority - 61 MKs - of the Knesset.

"According to professional legal opinion," Ben-Yosef wrote in the original complaint, "any negotiations with a foreign entity regarding the division of Jerusalem and/or the giving away of parts of it to any foreign authority, are in total and blatant violation of this law."

U.S.: Iran May be Able to Make Nukes by 2009

By Ha'aretz

The head of American intelligence said Tuesday that it is unclear whether Tehran has returned to its production of nuclear weapons in the past six months, and warned that Iran "would be technically capable of producing enough highly enriched uranium for a weapon" by the end of next year.

Speaking two months after a U.S. intelligence report cast doubt on Tehran's nuclear ambitions, National Intelligence Director John Michael McConnell made his remarks during an appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee to present an annual report on threats to the U.S.

A National Intelligence Estimate report released in December said that Iran halted its nuclear weapons development program in the fall of 2003. "We remain concerned about Iran's intentions and assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons," the report said.

"We assess with high confidence that Iran has the scientific, technical and industrial capacity eventually to produce nuclear weapons," it said, adding that the only realistic way to prevent Iran from producing such weapons was "an Iranian political decision to abandon a nuclear weapons objective."

McConnell expressed skepticism at the ability of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah movement to deliver security for Israel and to overcome Hamas' efforts to stymie the political process.

He said that despite pressures on Hamas, "the group remains fairly unified, especially its military wing, and in charge in the Gaza Strip where it controls all PA facilities. Hamas continues to curtail freedoms and to harass Fatah members."

McConnell said however, that the U.S. recognizes signs of Fatah's progress in the West Bank, praising "renewed security and law enforcement cooperation with Israeli forces in taking more effective action against Hamas."

There was no mention in the report of the Israel Air Force attack on Syria in September 2007, which foreign news sources have speculated was a strike on a nuclear facility built with North Korean assistance. He said, however, that North Korea, which has sold ballistic missiles to Iran and other Middle Eastern countries, could "proliferate nuclear weapons abroad."

Pope Nixes Reference to Jews` `Blindness` Over Jesus in Prayer

By Reuters

Pope Benedict has ordered changes to a Latin prayer for Jews at Good Friday services by traditionalist Catholics, deleting a reference to their "blindness" over Christ, the Vatican said on Tuesday.

The Vatican newspaper l'Osservatore Romano published the new version of the prayer in Latin and said it should be used by the traditionalist minority starting this Good Friday, March 21.

Apart from the deletion of the word "blindness," the new prayer also removes a phrase that asked God to "remove the veil from their hearts." But the new prayer hopes that Jews will recognize Christ.

Jewish groups had protested against the old prayer and had asked the pope to change it. According to an unofficial translation from Latin, the new prayer says in part: "Let us also pray for the Jews. So that God our Lord enlightens their hearts so that they recognize Jesus Christ savior of all men." It also asks God that "all Israel be saved."

Jewish groups complained last year when the Pope issued a decree allowing a wider use of the old-style Latin Mass and a missal, or prayer book that was phased out after the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, which met from 1962 to 1965.

Good Friday is the day Christians commemorate the death of Jesus. Only some several hundred thousand traditionalists follow the old-style Latin rite and will use the Latin prayer.

The overwhelming number of the world's some 1.1 billion Catholics attends mass in their local languages. They would use a post-Second Vatican Council missal, which includes a Good Friday prayer for Jews which asks that they "arrive at the fullness of redemption."

Benedict's decree, issued on July 7, authorized wider use of the old Latin missal, a move which traditionalist Catholics had demanded for decades but which Jews and other Christian groups said could set back inter-religious dialogue.

Implementation of the decree has been difficult. The pope's number two, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, said recently the Vatican was preparing a document on how it should be introduced around the world.

Before the Second Vatican Council, Catholic mass and prayers were full of elaborate ritual led in Latin. Many traditionalists missed the Latin rite's sense of mystery and the centuries-old Gregorian chant that went with it. Some denounced Council reforms that included a repudiation of the notion of collective Jewish guilt for Christ's death and urged dialogue with all other faiths.

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