- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 28, 2002

LONDON The Irish Republican Army has been teaching Palestinian militants to build booby-trap bombs for use against Israeli soldiers, according to a British explosives expert working in the Jenin refugee camp.
Paul Collinson, a former Royal Engineers bomb disposal officer working for the Red Cross, said the devices he had found in the camp were identical in every detail to those he had encountered in Northern Ireland.
He told the Sunday Telegraph that he had discovered more than 200 explosive devices while working in the camp in the West Bank after the recent Israeli invasion. He said he is convinced that the bombs were either supplied by the IRA or made under their supervision.
"When I saw the bombs, it was like a flashback to Northern Ireland. The way the pipes were cut and the whole design of the pipe bombs is exactly the same," he said.
The pipe bombs found in Jenin were exact replicas of those in Northern Ireland, he said. The size of bomb, the way the nail is placed, the way of igniting it with a light-bulb filament, the use of a command wire and the means of initiating the bomb all have the hallmarks of originating from Ireland, he said.
"When you put two and two together, then it seems that they could well have been trained by the IRA."
Thirteen Israeli soldiers were killed in the bitter street battle for Jenin, which was thought to be a center of activity for Palestinian suicide bombers.
Mr. Collinson said the booby-trap bombs used in Jenin and Northern Ireland were made from the same ingredients nitrogen-based fertilizer, diesel and sugar.
This latest revelation of the IRA's international connections comes after Wednesday's U.S. Senate hearing into the group's links with a Colombian terrorist group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
A U.S. official said yesterday that evidence of a Palestinian link would raise further questions over the IRA's cease-fire.
"If there was clear and convincing evidence that the IRA has been training Palestinians in bomb-making techniques, then we are facing a grave and grievous situation for the IRA," he said.
"It would surely lead to a reassessment of whether the IRA should not be put on the designated list of terrorist organizations with a global reach. The implications could not be worse for the IRA."

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