Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Massive Manhunt to Stop Second Attack

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Massive Manhunt to Stop Second Attack

Article excerpt

Byline: THEODORE LEVITE

ISRAELI police launched a full-scale manhunt today in a bid to track down a suicide bomber they fear is about to mount a second murderous attack on civilians in Jerusalem.

The move came after two militant Palestinian organisations claimed responsibility for the bombing of a pizza restaurant in the city yesterday which killed 18, including two babies.

Hamas issued a statement saying the attack had been carried out by a 23-year-old volunteer, Izz al-Din al-Masri, from a village near Jenin on the West Bank.

But Islamic Jihad, a less powerful rival to Hamas's military wing, also issued a statement saying the bomber had been one of its own members, Hussein Omar Abu Amsha, also 23.

Israeli security forces immediately suspected that both organisations had sent suicide bombers to Jerusalem and that when news of the pizza restaurant attack broke, each assumed it had been carried out by their own man.

This meant that one bomber was still out there.

The bomb detonated in the crowded Sbarro restaurant in the heart of Jerusalem's shopping district blew the man who had been carrying it to pieces. Positive identification may prove impossible in the short term.

The hunt was also complicated by the fact that Islamic Jihad initially named the bomber as Hussein Omar Abu Naaseh, but then withdrew his name when his family said he was alive.

As the search for the second bomber went on, Israel used its F-16 warplanes against Palestinian targets for the first time since May. A police station in Ramallah was destroyed by two rockets, but there were no reports of casualties. After the Jerusalem bombing Palestinians abandoned locations likely to be targeted by Israel in retaliation.

A statement from the Israeli military claimed the air strike followed "involvement of Palestinian policemen in terrorist activity". …

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