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Israeli-Arab In North: I Wanted To Kill As Many Jews As Possible

Following last week's bombshell news of the involvement of five Israeli-Arabs from the Jerusalem area in three murderous terrorist attacks, the police and GSS came out with another shocker (for some) this morning: Seven Arab citizens of Israel from the Galilee - all members of the extended Bakri family of the village Ba'na - have been arrested on charges of cooperating in the suicide attack in
First Publish: 8/26/2002, 7:52 PM

Following last week's bombshell news of the involvement of five Israeli-Arabs from the Jerusalem area in three murderous terrorist attacks, the police and GSS came out with another shocker (for some) this morning: Seven Arab citizens of Israel from the Galilee - all members of the extended Bakri family of the village Ba'na - have been arrested on charges of cooperating in the suicide attack in Meiron two weeks ago. Nine people were killed in that explosion, including a Druze soldier, an Israeli-Arab, and two Filipino women.

The police attribute tremendous importance to the above arrests. "The terrorist was the bomb; they were the murderers," said Galilee Region Police Chief Brig.-Gen. Yehuda Solomon today, referring to the two main suspects, Ibrahim and Yassin Bakri. The former submitted a full confession to police today, saying that as a Palestinian, his goal was to kill as many Jews as possible. The two cousins allowed the suicide murderer to sleep in their home before the attack, drove him to the bus stop, recommended the target, and even bought him batteries with which to detonate his explosives.

Arutz-7's Kobi Finkler reports that the police began cracking the case open within hours after the Aug. 4th attack when they arrested the military head of Hamas in Jenin and the two Arab women who were seen getting off the bus shortly before the explosion. It turned out that one of the latter - Yassera Bakri - was from the same extended Bakri family of Ba'na. She happened to sit down on the ill-fated bus next to the terrorist, who told her to get off because "it's going to be a mess here." She and her friend did so, and took a taxi to their nursing classes in Tzfat. They did not call the police, and Bakri has already been indicted for taking no action to prevent the massacre.

The suicide bomber met Ibrahim and Yassin Bakri, two cousins from Ba'na, three years ago, and often talked about carrying out an attack together. The weekend of Aug. 2-4 was the date chosen. On Friday, Aug. 2, the bomber crossed the Green Line by foot near Um el-Fahm, ordered a taxi from Jaffa to take him to Akko, and was picked up there by Ibrahim Bakri. They hid the bomb in Ibrahim's mother's nursery in Ba'na, and on Sunday morning they set out on their mission of death. They drove along the Akko-Carmiel highway, studying the various buses, looking especially for those with many soldiers. They considered Bus #500, but rejected it because its route took it through Arab villages, and settled instead on #361. Ibrahim and Yassin dropped off the suicide killer at one of the bus stops, waited for him to go behind the trees to put on his explosives vest - he kindly asked them to move away so that they would not get hurt if something were to go wrong - and boarded the #361 bus a few minutes later. Police reported that he took along a gun with him, to be used to shoot at the explosive in case it did not go off.

Muhammad Bakri, a famous actor and a relative of the accused terrorists, blamed the media for exacerbating tensions between Jews and Arabs - but this was among his milder comments. Speaking with Israel Radio this afternoon, Bakri said that nothing had been proven, that it was the media's fault for "blowing up everything that has to do with Arabs," and blaming the police and GSS for arresting them. When asked how he related to Police Chief Solomon's remarks that his cousins were murderers, he said, "He himself is a murderer."

MK Zevulun Orlev (National Religious Party) blames the Israeli-Arab Knesset Members for exacerbating Jewish-Arab relations in Israel. "There is no doubt that the incitement and support for incitement by some of the Arab MKs helps enlist terrorists from among the Israeli-Arab public," Orlev said today.

"According to the logic of those who demand a wall between eastern Jerusalem and the rest of the capital," Arutz-7's Haggai Segal noted, "we will also have to build a partition between the Galilee and the rest of the State of Israel."