[This refers to yesterday's suicide bomb, not today's Jerusalem bus bomb – Tom Gross]
Report: Bomber was AIDS carrier
By David Rudge
The Jerusalem Post
June 18, 2002
The 16-year-old who blew himself up as border policemen approached him near Kibbutz Bahan, north of Tulkarm, yesterday was a carrier of the AIDS virus, according a report carried yesterday evening by the Al Jazeera TV station.
No one was hurt in the attempted attack. Security sources said the terrorist had probably intended to carry out the attack in a crowded place in a city in the area, the nearest of which is Netanya. Al Jazeera, quoting Palestinian sources, said the youth contracted the disease after he received tainted blood during an operation in Nablus.
No organization took credit for the attempted attack. Central Region border police chief Asst.-Cmdr. Shlomi Even-Paz said the bomb, which was apparently strapped to the terrorist's body, was a large one.
It was reported to be similar in size to one used in a suicide bombing in Petah Tikva last month in which a woman and her infant granddaughter were killed and dozens of others wounded.
Even-Paz said the alertness and quick action of the border policemen had undoubtedly prevented a serious attack. It was not immediately clear whether the terrorist was one of the five suicide bombers whom Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer revealed on Sunday were being hunted by the security forces.
Even-Paz said a suspicious person had been seen in roughly the same area the previous night, and border policemen inside the Green Line, as well as IDF troops on the other side, had been hunting for the suspected terrorist.
"According to our assessment, the incident began the previous night with a report from a civilian of a suspicious person dressed in a khaki-colored uniform wandering around in orchards, east of Bahan," said Even-Paz. "In the morning, one of our teams on patrol spotted the suspect and started to approach him. They called through bullhorns for him to halt. "At a certain point, as the team approached him in their jeep, the suspect turned backward and exploded."
Two border policemen, an IDF officer, and two civilians, have been killed in the same area since the outbreak of violence in October 2000, and a number of other people have been wounded in bombings and shootings.
As a result of those incidents, the Border Police has been using armored vehicles to conduct regular patrols, and this tactic proved itself yesterday. Even-Paz said the forces hunting for the reported suspect on Sunday night had apparently forced him to retrace his steps, and he then tried again yesterday.
"In the morning, during further searches we managed to get on his trail. One of the trackers found the imprint of a shoe on Sunday and this matched that of the terrorist which remained intact," he said.