Israel's red faces over Hamas

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 past 18 months.

Ahmed Rahman Ismael Rahman Ranimat, 25, the leader of the cell, led Israeli troops to the grave of Sergeant 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 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".

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
education
News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
Sport
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
News
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
science
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
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

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London