Palestinian bomber arrested near Nablus

Youth, 18, had 6 pipe bombs, bullets, and bag of gunpowder; Israel lifts 10 roadblocks in Hebron.

hawara checkpoint (photo credit: )
hawara checkpoint
(photo credit: )
An 18-year-old Palestinian was arrested Sunday afternoon at the Hawara checkpoint near Nablus after military policemen on duty discovered he was carrying six pipe bombs, an ammunition cartridge and bullets, and a bag of what appeared to be gunpowder. Cpl. Ron Bezalel of the Military Police's Taoz Battalion said the youth had sent his bag through the checkpoint's X-ray scanner. When the explosives were discovered, the troops on duty immediately implemented the protocol for stopping a terror suspect. "It's routine to find bombs at this checkpoint... every day, we find knives and other weapons," Bezalel said. The military said the Palestinian was most likely on his way to perpetrate an attack in an urban center. He was arrested and transferred to the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) for interrogation. Three weeks ago, another Palestinian carrying five pipe bombs, which he had strapped to his chest in the manner of an explosives belt, was stopped at Hawara. Earlier Sunday, the IDF announced that Israel had removed 10 roadblocks in southern Hebron. The move came following decisions by the political echelon and in accordance with security assessments, the army said. The IDF added that the removal was part of a series of relief measures that the army and Civil Administration were implementing for West Bank Palestinians. The recent removal of the roadblocks was a further step in the relief plan authorized by the Defense Ministry and IDF Chief of General Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, the army said. The army stressed that it would continue to defend Israel's citizens, while doing its utmost to allow the Palestinian population to maintain daily routine life. At the end of March, Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayad in Jerusalem and presented them with a detailed list of goodwill gestures Israel planned to begin making to the Palestinians in the West Bank to ease their lives and bolster PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Barak pledged to remove 50 dirt roadblocks in the West Bank as well as one major checkpoint. In April, as part of Israel's efforts to bolster Abbas, the IDF lifted a central West Bank roadblock outside Nablus. The roadblock, called "Checkpoint 804," was one of a series of roadblocks that were part of the Israeli closure of Nablus, which had been isolated from the rest of the West Bank for the previous year. Almagor, an organization representing terror victims and their families, responded to Sunday's announcement in the form of an open letter to Barak written by Nahman Zoldan, the father of Ido Zoldan who was killed several months ago by Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank. "As someone who has lost a son near a road at the hands of Palestinian Authority members, I call on you to reconsider the decision and not to take at face value the Palestinian Authority's promise that it will take care of our security for us. "I issue this especially ahead of the coming holiday, when tens of thousands of Israelis use these roads on their way to Eilat, not knowing that these roads are now totally exposed to Palestinian movement," Zoldan wrote in a statement issued by Almagor to the media.