Fallen officer prevented massive double, not single, Hanukka bombing

Lt. Uri Binamo prevented a large-scale double - not single - suicide bombing last month when he took the full force of the December 29 attack at an IDF checkpoint near Tulkarm, paying with his life. The army revealed Wednesday that there were two explosives-laden bombers involved in the attack, and not one, as was previously reported. Islamic Jihad in Tulkarm launched the attack during Hanukka, aiming to hit large groups of Israelis in the midst of holiday celebrations in the center of the country. The bombers' drive to their destination was cut short when when their taxi, which had Palestinian plates and had come from Tulkarm, was stopped by soldiers from the Nachshon Battalion manning a temporary checkpoint near the settlement of Avnei Hefetz. The soldiers were acting on an intelligence tip about terrorists planning to attack within the Green Line during Hanukka, an IDF spokeswoman said. Binamo, 21, from the northern town of Nesher, took the lead in approaching the taxi and told the occupants to get out of the vehicle. The three Palestinian men inside complied with the order, but once out of the taxi, one of them lifted his shirt to reveal a 10-kg. suicide belt. He then detonated the belt; it was previously thought that he, Binamo and two other Palestinians were killed in this single explosion. However, details of a probe presented on Tuesday to OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh and released for publication on Wednesday showed that one of the Palestinian "casualties" was actually a second bomber wearing an explosives belt, which he detonated soon after the initial blast. Palestinian media reports at the time of the incident identified two bombers, a man and a woman. Naveh praised the Nachshon Battalion and declared that Binamo and the soldiers serving alongside him had prevented a double suicide attack. The findings of the IDF probe are to be presented to Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz.