February 25, 2005

Hizbullah Bombs Tel Aviv Nightclub

The group that the European Union recently claimed 'is not a terrorist organization' is responsible for tonight's bombing of a Tel Aviv nightclub which killed at least four and injured scores more. The Jerusalem Post and the AP report that a senior Palestinian security official lays the blame for the bombing sqarely on the shoulders of the Lebanese based Hizbullah.

While the individual who carried out the suicide attack was a leader of the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in the West Bank town of Tulkarm, the PA denies that the military branch of Yassir Arafat's Fatah movement had anything to do with the attack. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the Palestinian official claims that Hizbullah recruited and paid for the homicide mission.

Other media reports that factions within the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and Islamic Jihad claimed joint responsibility for the attack, but leaders of al Aqsa later denied involvement. The Associated Press also speculates that certain cells within al Aqsa are receiving money and orders from Hizbullah. If that is the case, than the Palestinian Authority's ability to control militants within its ranks may be severely limited.

Hizbullah has recently made threats against leaders in the anti-Syrian uprising in Lebanon. Syria has occupied Lebanon for over a decade and allowed Hizbullah freedom to launch attacks against Israel from Lebanese territory. Hizbullah is a recognized political party in Lebanon with strong ties to both Syria and Iran.

Despite Hizbullah's known connection to the murder of American soldiers and Israeli civilians, the European Union has been reluctant to formally declare the group a terrorist organization.

Leaders of Hizbullah in Lebanon have disclaimed the attacks calling the accusation that they were behind the mass murder "lies."

Initial reports from Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas are encouraging. The NY Times quotes Abbas as saying, "The Palestinian Authority will not stand silent in the face of this act of sabotage. We will follow and track down those responsible and they will be punished accordingly."

The J Post reports this from the scene of the mass murder:

About 20 to 30 people queued up outside the "Stage" club on the generally packed Herbert Samuel Boulevard shortly after 11 pm Friday night when the bomber, dressed as a reveler himself, struck. As he reached the front of the line he detonated a nail-packed device just before being searched by one of the club's guards. The force of the blast ripped cars open like cans, and sprayed the victims' blood onto the club's smashed front fa ade. Shops and windows of nearby buildings were obliterated.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:28 PM | Comments |