Arafat tip leads Israelis to killers

Israel says the bomber who killed three people in Tel Aviv last month was not trying to commit suicide but died because explosives in a bag he was holding blew up prematurely.

The revelation comes after Israel arrested a six-member cell of Islamic militants in the village Surif, north of Hebron, who allegedly killed 11 Israelis and wounded 49 over the last 18 months.

Ahmed Rahman Ismael Rahman Ranimat, 25, the leader of the cell, led Israeli troops to the grave of Sgt Sharon Edri, an Israeli soldier, shot dead last year when he got into a car driven by members of the group. The discovery of his body is causing embarrassment to the Israeli police who at one stage said they believed that Sgt Edri had disappeared for personal reasons.

The arrest of alleged members of the cell, which formed part of the military wing of Hamas, is also causing some embarrassment to the Israeli security forces.

They had believed the rash of attacks in the area was being carried out by the so-called "Halhoul Cell" of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian, a militant but secular organisation in a neighbouring town.

The break-up of the cell appears to have come partly as the result of co-operation with the Palestinian Preventive Security after pressure from the United States on Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader, to resume security co-operation with Israel.

Yitzhak Mordechai, the Israeli Defence Minister, said: "We are talking about a murderous cell, which killed five Israelis in the region of Gefen Tirosh, three Israelis in the Tel Aviv coffee house, two soldiers along the Hebron-Jerusalem road and also kidnapped and murdered Sharon Edri in cold blood."

The discovery of the cell somewhat deflates the theory of Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, that Mr Arafat gave "a green light" for the Tel Aviv attack, since the Surif group appears to have attacked whenever an opportunity offered. Mousa Ranimat, one of the Ranimat clan, which is powerful in Surif, accidentally blew himself up in the Apropo coffee house in Tel Aviv three weeks ago.

The cell, which started to operate at the end of 1995, did not find it difficult to kill Israelis. Their method of operation shows the impossibility of full protection against such attacks.

All of the cell members looked like Israelis, spoke Hebrew because they had worked in Israel and, for the same reason, knew their way around.

They had a car with yellow Israeli licence plates, so they could operate easily within Israel. All were in their twenties and most had been arrested for Hamas activities.

Two of the six cell members were arrested within areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority, after the CIA put pressure on Mr Arafat. Despite the obsessive focus on security in Israel, actual security measures are frequently slack. Israeli soldiers often hitchhike to or from their bases. All the Hamas group had to do to get Sgt Sharon Edri, who was buried yesterday, into their car, was to offer him a lift. When he became suspicious they shot him.

Mr Arafat will want Israel to pay a price for the resumption of limited security co-operation.

Ze'ev Schiff, a security specialist on the daily Ha'aretz, says the Palestinian leader is saying to the US that he is willing to act against Hamas but that "now Israel has to do its part by halting the construction of Har Homa and the expansion of the settlements."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
Sport
Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas
footballChelsea vs West Ham live kicks off coverage of all 10 of Boxing Day matches
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all