Israel Nabs Lady Bomber
November 25, 2002 -- JERUSALEM - Three would-be homicide bombers, including a woman, were busted toting explosives through Bethlehem yesterday, as Israel continued its crackdown there.
A suspected local leader of the terrorist group Islamic Jihad also was nabbed in the latest sweep by Israeli troops.
Israeli authorities said the man, Jamil Hassan Kamal, has been implicated in at least three attacks against Jews in Bethlehem.
Israel launched its most intensive crackdown on the city after a Palestinian homicide bomber from Bethlehem blew himself up on a Jerusalem bus Thursday, killing 11 passengers and injuring more than 40 others.
Israeli tanks rolled into the city the next day, and troops began house-to-house searches to try to root out militants.
As part of yesterday's continued clampdown in the region, the Israeli military scoured four mosques for suspects in Tubas, near Nablus. The troops were reportedly searching for a terrorist who doubles as a prayer caller, Mohammed Alkilani.
In one of the mosques, the Israelis even called over loudspeakers for Alkilani to surrender, a witness said.
In Bethlehem, Israeli troops also barred worshippers from the sacred Church of the Nativity, the site of a bloody showdown six months ago.
That's when dozens of cornered Palestinian gunmen holed themselves up in the church, igniting a 39-day standoff with Israeli forces.
Since Friday, a total of five would-be homicide bombers have been nabbed by the Israelis and 32 more "wanted" Palestinians detained, Israeli officials said.
In the West Bank city of Hebron, 15 others also were arrested yesterday.
The arrests came as the United Nations protested the killing of one of its officials by Israeli troops in the West Bank on Friday.
A British U.N. worker was killed after Israeli troops mistook a cell phone for a weapon during fighting with Palestinian gunmen in the Jenin refugee camp