- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 12, 2002

JERUSALEM (Agence France-Presse) Israeli police believe there is a network of Jewish extremists plotting to kill Palestinians after the arrests of four settlers suspected of planning a bomb attack near a high school, a senior security official said yesterday.
"It's not a question of an isolated individual but of a true organization, so the investigation is directed toward other suspects," Deputy Interior Security Minister Gideon Ezra told public radio.
"The attack being planned would have caused several casualties," said Mr. Ezra, a former head of Israel's domestic Shin Beth security service.
The four are accused of planning an attack near an all-girls high school in the Palestinian part of Abu Thor, on the West Bank and close to Jerusalem.
Two of the men, stopped during a routine identity check near the school, were in a truck towing a trailer filled with gas balloons, cans of gas and explosives, police said. Bomb squad officers neutralized the device.
It was the first known arrests of members of clandestine extreme-right groups in Israel believed to have carried out several attacks.
They were arrested two weeks ago, but details of the case were withheld until Friday by a court order.
According to a report on Israel army radio, the police and the internal security services were to apply tomorrow for another extension of the suspects' detention while they conduct further inquiries into a suspected link with other anti-Arab attacks in the territories.
The last such attack was on April 2, when a Palestinian was shot dead and another wounded in an attack police attributed to Jewish extremists. An anonymous telephone caller claimed responsibility for the shooting in the name of a previously unknown group the Tears of the Widows and Orphans and said the operation was intended to avenge the victims of Palestinian attacks.
Since the beginning of the intifada, or Palestinian uprising, in September 2000, 12 Palestinians have been killed and dozens wounded in attacks by Israeli extremists, according to the human rights organization B'Tselem.


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