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Car-Bomb Could Have Collapsed the Mall


by Hillel Fendel

(IsraelNN.com) The car bomb that did not go off on Saturday night in a Haifa parking lot could have collapsed the entire three-story shopping mall above it.

The car was parked in the Cinemall parking lot, and apparently contained enough explosives - 40 kilograms - to bring down the entire mall. The detonation mechanism malfunctioned, however, and caused only a very small initial explosion – enough to attract the attention of passersby, who called the police. The area was then cleared, and police sappers neutralized the remaining explosives packed in bags in the car.

The three-story mall, widely known by its former name Lev HaMifratz (Heart of the Gulf), contains 23 movie theaters and over 100 stores, and was crowded with shoppers and others when the bomb was discovered.

Olmert: A Terrorist Attack Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday that a “heavy catastrophe was averted in Haifa last night.” Olmert, still in office after his future successor, Binyamin Netanyahu, requested and received last week an extension for his coalition-forming efforts, said, “From our standpoint, this was a terror attack in the full sense of the word, and the State of Israel relates to it with all seriousness. Initial investigations show that the terrorists are apparently based in Judea and Samaria.”

“A miracle happened," Olmert stated forcefully, "and the bomb did not go off because of the alertness of the civilians. I have great admiration for [all our] security forces; thank G-d, sometimes attacks like these are prevented because of the extraordinary alertness of civilians.”

'Restore the Checkpoints!' In light of his statement, the Almagor Terror Victims Association called on Olmert to restore the anti-terrorism checkpoints that the government has removed in recent weeks and days from various locations throughout Judea and Samaria.

“If Israel relates to this as a genuine terror attack,” the Almagor statement says, “as the Prime Minister states, he must immediately restore all the checkpoints. He must also impose a closure on the Arab residents of Judea and Samaria, as is always done after a terrorist attack.”

Well-Planned Attack Police say the origins and identities of the terrorists are still under investigation. It is assumed, however, that the attack was well-planned by an organized terrorist infrastructure.

The mall in Haifa was re-opened to the public on Sunday morning, after police sappers concluded a check of the area and security checks were intensified. Fewer shoppers than usual arrived, however.

The near-catastrophe occurred just six days after two Israeli policemen were murdered by Arab terrorists in the Jordan Valley. The victims were entrapped by their desire to help a man who appeared to be a motorist who needed help in changing a flat tire – but was actually a murderous terrorist who gunned them down in cold blood.

False Alarm in Galilee At 12:45 PM on Sunday, a rocket warning siren sounded in Kiryat Shmonah and area towns in the Galilee. No signs of a rocket landing were found, and it appears that the siren was a false alarm, as happened in a similar alert a week ago.