Police: Jewish underground may be emerging

Security forces say new cell may have targeted Sternhell; rightist Web site urges attacks on PM, Meretz MK.

September 28, 2008 22:33
3 minute read.
Police: Jewish underground may be emerging

zeev sternhell 224.88. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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A new Jewish underground could have been responsible for Thursday morning's attack on left-wing professor Ze'ev Sternhell, security forces said on Sunday. Sternhell, a political scientist from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem known for his vocal criticisms of the settler movement and IDF actions in the West Bank, was lightly wounded around 1 a.m. on Thursday morning when a small pipe bomb exploded outside his Jerusalem apartment. A security official told The Jerusalem Post, "The investigation is continuing and we are looking into a wide range of possibilities. The main fear is that there is a new underground cell that is planning additional attacks." Flyers found near Sternhell's apartment offering an NIS 1 million reward to anyone who killed those associated with the left-wing group Peace Now are one of several clues that have led security officials to speculate that this attack was planned by Jewish right-wing extremists. Police said on Sunday that they were also looking into messages found on a right-wing Web site, in which users had posted threatening messages against left-wing activists and praised last week's attack at Sternhell's home. Security officials were also analyzing an e-mail sent over the weekend to media outlets and MKs which claims to expose the identity of a 17-year-old who, the sender claims, perpetrated the bombing. The anonymous author of the e-mail attached messages from a right wing forum, entitled "The Real Right," which he claimed had been written by the attacker. The e-mail also includes an undated posting in which an unidentified user invites others to join him in attacking a well-known leftist activist. The attack, however, was supposed to have taken place the day after Sternhell was targeted. "On September 25, 2008, we the members of the true rightist organization will embark on a revenge mission against a senior leftist political figure," the posting read. "Whoever is interested in joining is asked to send me a message privately, not through the forum." Another e-mail indicated the user's desire to "shut up" MK Zehava Gal-On (Meretz) and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert with an army-issue weapon, while other messages purportedly advocated the use of an Apache attack helicopter to assassinate High Supreme Court judges, because they were "terrorists." One of the site's users, identified as "Aharon," has numerous postings advocating the murder of Gush Shalom activists, B'Tselem workers, anarchists, and virtually everyone else whose views conflict with those of the far Right. By Sunday evening, users on the site had caught on to the media attention and were posting warnings to each other that the Shin Bet was "coming after them." Postings praising the attack on Sternhell however, were still visible on the site. According to the security officials, the investigation has also explored possibility that those who perpetuated the attack were also responsible for a series of bombings over the past two years, including one against a Messianic Jewish family in Ariel earlier this year, in which a boy was seriously wounded. However, Judea and Samaria police spokesman Danny Poleg on Sunday denied reports that a possible link existed between the Sternhell attack and the Ariel bombing. "I have no comment about it, except that as far as I know, it's not true," Poleg said. Meanwhile, no one has been arrested in the attack on Sternhell, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Sunday when asked about the direction of the investigation. "We're carrying out a thorough investigation to find out exactly what happened and we're looking at all different possibilities," Rosenfeld said. "That it was perpetrated by right-wing extremists may not be 100 percent correct, and we're looking at all the pieces of evidence found at the scene, including pamphlets threatening members of Peace Now, and the pipe bomb itself, to determine who was responsible." Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.

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