Two Fatah-aligned terrorists who were pardoned by outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert helped plot a bombing at the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station on Tuesday that was foiled at the last minute by Israeli intelligence agents.
WorldNetDaily journalist Aaron Klein quoted a senior member in the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, the terrorist arm of the Fatah faction led by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, that Hizbullah was involved in funding the planned attack. A terror alert, the highest possible, set off a massive manhunt by air and land in the metropolitan Tel Aviv area during the rush hour until three suspects were arrested near the Central Bus Station.
The Islamic Jihad terrorist group in Jenin coordinated the planned attack with Al Aqsa, which Klein explained did not inform the media because of the amnesty agreement and the prime minister's plan to free another 250 terrorists as a "goodwill" gesture to Abbas.
One of the terrorists involved in planning the attack was Mohammed Abu Drei, who was killed by the IDF in a counterterrorist operation in Shechem earlier this week. The IDF hunted him down for other terrorist connections, and only later in the week was it discovered that he was planning the strike against Tel Aviv.
The PA ostensibly has taken responsibility for maintaining law and order in Shechem and Jenin, but the deployment of armed special forces has mostly acted as a showcase for the United States and the PA to convince Israel that terror is under control. However, the special forces, which the government calls "police officers," do not operate at night, when most of the Israeli counterterrorist operations take place.
The planned Tel Aviv bombing was to be carried out with explosives that police discovered in a bag after the initial arrest of a Jenin Arab in a house near Tel Aviv.
Government spokesmen announced that Islamic Jihad was behind the foiled operation and did not make any mention of Fatah, which the Olmert administration is trying to prop up through concessions and counterterrorist operations aimed mostly at rival terrorist gangs.
The pardoned terrorist who was arrested is Ahmed Amire, a member of Al Aqsa from Jenin and who may have provided Israeli intelligence with more information about the imminent attack. Prime Minister Olmert granted amnesty to him, and to Drei as well as more than 100 comrades from Al Aqsa in return for a promise to turn in their weapons, remain in the custody of the PA for three months and not return to terrorism.