In India yesterday, a terror group called Harkat-ul-Jihad operating in the name of Islam claimed credit for a placing a bomb in a briefcase in a crowded reception area at the entrance of the High Court building in Delhi. Eleven people were killed, more than 80 injured. (A similar explosion in more or less the same place happened in May.) The Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh is quoted saying that anti-terror "mechanisms" have been put in place by the Indian authorities, but that "there are weaknesses in our system [and] we must work hard to plug the weaknesses."
The Israeli authorities understand this, by and large. Also yesterday (Wednesday), the authorities responsible for public security - chiefly the police and the Security Service (the Shin Bet, in Hebrew) - disclosed that an undercover effort of several months has uncovered multiple terror cells and plans in various stages designed to cause death and pain at several locations in our country.
Here's the essence of what was revealed:
- Though the terrorists apprehended in this campaign are mainly associated with Hamas which controls the Gaza Strip, the activities now disclosed are focused on the West Bank.
- Dozens of Hamas terrorists were arrested, including the person who carried out the "heroic" placing of a bomb at a bus stop outside Jerusalem's busy congress center in March 2011 that took the life of a British woman and injured 47 others waiting to catch buses.
- Overseas Hamas bases - chiefly in Syria, Turkey and China - were involved in the co-ordination of these latest terrorist plots.
- Also uncovered were attempts to smuggle weapons from the Gaza Strip into the West Bank.
- Dozens of Hamas terrorists, organized in at least 13 terror cells, were arrested across the West Bank over the past few weeks.
- Ynet says the planned terror attacks included an intended bombing - by means of a religious maniac who was ready to blow himself up in order to murder innocent Israelis - in the Pisgat Ze'ev community on Jerusalem's outskirts. In that plot, the bomb was found in a home in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras al-Amud. It carried three kilograms of explosive, topped with a mound of deadly metallic shrapnel, and concealed within a fire extinguisher. The human bomb, a man of 20 called Said Qawasmeh from Hebron has been obliged to postpone his meeting with the promised 72 virgins.
- Among their other goals: to kidnap IDF soldiers and hold them as bargaining chips in future prisoner exchange deals, which we think sounds especially chilling in view of the horrifying experiences of Gilad Shalit and his family. A terrorist from Hebron, Shaher Skaphi, provided his Israeli interrogators with copious details of the plot to kidnap and secure an Israeli serviceman and then negotiate for his release in exchange for Hamas prisoners held by Israel.