Israeli counterterrorism is known to be sans pareil, and the Tel Aviv police today carried out a picture-perfect arrest of three terrorists intending to carry out a suicide bombing. Here is an account of what happened, from Yedi`ot Aharonot:
police received specific intelligence regarding a female suicide bomber en route to Tel Aviv in a Renault Express commercial vehicle. After alerts were received, boosted police forces were stationed at the junction of Ibn Gvirol and Rokach streets in central Tel Aviv. At one point, police were alerted by radio that a suspicious vehicle fitting the description in the warning was stopped at the corner of Hayarkon and Yordei Hasirah streets not far from the port. Dozens of patrol vehicle were immediately summoned to the scene. Eyewitnesses started yelling towards the police officers that the occupants had fled the vehicle, and police managed to catch them at gunpoint.
The would-be terrorists' Renault Express.
Simultaneously, police received a report of a suspicious object at the entrance to the old Exhibition Grounds. A number of officers were dispatched to the site, while others scoured the immediate area. Meanwhile, police caught another suspect, an Arab Israeli man fleeing the scene in a separate vehicle. No explosives or suspicious devices were found in his possession. The suspects were transferred to police headquarters for questioning.
Sergeant Minor Sharon Telkar from the Yarkon district was the one who identified the suspects' vehicle leaving the Tel Aviv port area. In accordance with police procedure, he alerted backup forces. Following the dramatic arrests, Telkar told Ynet, "We got a message about the suspicious vehicle, we combed the area around the port and at a certain stage I understood the suspects in the car saw me on Habkuk Street and left the port area. I caught up with them and stopped them at the corner. We aimed our weapons at them and arrested the driver, an Arab Israeli, at gunpoint and his female passenger from the West Bank. She tried to say she was Israeli, but when we checked, we found a green ID card indicating she was the person we were searching for."
The would-be terrorists.
Telkar went home with a great sense of satisfaction. "This arrest is actually the icing on the cake. Until today, we managed to arrest thieves, robbers, but nothing like this – this happens once in your life. It gives great satisfaction, and when I go home today, I'll feel like my work pays off."
Nor was this an isolated case: "The security establishment has 22 warnings of planned suicide bombings and kidnappings in Israeli territory."
Comment: The Israeli rate of success at stopping terrorists is extraordinary – in the high 90 percent. One reason for this success is the no-nonsense, non-politically correct approach to police work; another is the active involvement of the civilian population. In due time, I imagine, others will emulate this model, but only as a last resort. (July 21, 2006)