Prisons Service: Inmate didn't warn of suicide attack

Bombing at Tel Aviv's Rosh Ha'ir Shawarma Restaurant killed 11 and wounded over 60.

tel aviv bombing 2  (photo credit: Zaka (Nati Shapira))
tel aviv bombing 2
(photo credit: Zaka (Nati Shapira))
Family members of an American teen killed in a suicide bombing requested Tuesday that an external probe examine whether or not Israel Prisons Service officers disregarded advance warning of the bombing at Tel Aviv's Rosh Ha'ir Shawarma Restaurant. An attorney representing the family of 16-year-old Daniel Wultz sent a letter to both Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert demanding that they establish an inquest to probe the incident in light of new reports issued earlier this week. On Sunday, the Israel Prisons Service commissioned a rushed investigation following an Army Radio report that a prisoner claimed to have offered advance warning of the April 17, 2006 bombing, in which 11 people were killed and over 60 wounded. Assistant Warden Dr. Yossi Guber, the IPS's internal oversight officer and former intelligence officer Deputy Warden Rami Sela, a member of Guber's staff, were tasked with looking into the claims, and returning with their findings before the end of the day Sunday. By five o'clock, the IPS trumpeted their findings, claiming that the prisoner himself had admitted that his claims were false, and that he had simply made up information. IPS officials said that, according to internal documentation, on March 22, 2006 police received intelligence from a prisoner that a person by the name of Omer Lamem El Ahmad was engaged in recruiting citizens to carry out terror attacks against Israelis. According to Guber's findings, when the prisoner was questioned by intelligence officers he was unable to offer specific details to strengthen his claims. Other than the information that was received on that date - which was later passed on to the Shin Bet - the IPS received no additional, similar tip-offs. IPS officials said that one month after the Tel Aviv bombing the same prisoner "spread rumors in the jail that he gave information to the intelligence officer in the prison about the terror attack in Tel Aviv." Now, Wultz's family has given Olmert and Dichter 72 hours to establish a probe independent of the IPS. If no probe is set up, the teen's uncle, Jerusalem resident Zecharia Schenkolewski, told The Jerusalem Post, the family will consider appealing to the Supreme Court. "As a family member of Daniel, I hope that this story is not true," said Schenkolewski "This story isn't good for the family. I hope we find that this was, in fact, an attack that was unpreventable and not one that could have been stopped. Schenkolewski, who says that he speaks for Wultz's parents who have since returned to Florida, emphasized to the Post that "we're not looking for any benefit from this story," but that they were seeking the truth about the incident. Schenkolewski said that the internal IPS probe was too short to be in-depth, and that Gruber did not even interview the prisoner himself. "To ask people in the IPS to look into what IPS officers did doesn't seem serious," he added. The same prisoner has also claimed that ten months ago, he wrote a letter to Dichter saying that he had important information and it was ignored. Officials in the Internal Security Ministry told the Post that they would "respond to those raising the issue - the lawyer and the teen's family - and not to the press." They did, however, confirm that Dichter was planning on responding to the letter, although not necessarily through the establishment of a probe.