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The 'engineer' (Bombmaker's account of Jenin battle)
Al-Ahram Weekly Online ^ | 18 - 24 April 2002 | Jonathon Cook

Posted on 04/18/2002 5:45:20 PM PDT by CrossCheck

An engineer of the fiercest battle waged by the Palestinians during the invasion of the West Bank spoke to Jonathan Cook about the days of defiance in Jenin

Omar sits restlessly on his chair in the safe-house. He is an "engineer" from Jenin refugee camp: one of the revered bomb-makers from the City of the Bombers. To the Israelis he is the most lethal, and wanted, of terrorists. The poison from the Cobra's head.

We meet late last Thursday, hours after he escaped from the camp as Israeli soldiers took control of the area. We are still close enough to Jenin that we can see the constant stream of illumination flares, three launched by the army at a time, that light up the soldiers' dark work in the city below.

But Omar will not be staying here long. He is going to ground deeper in the West Bank before regrouping with his comrades from Jenin.

There may not be too many. Even according to Israeli army sources, at least a hundred fighters were killed and hundreds more wounded and captured during the eight days of savage fighting.

Omar will not give his name or age. He is slim, in his mid-20s, with a closely cropped beard. He is a member of Islamic Jihad, but says in Jenin all the factions were loyal to only one cause: liberation or death.

Visible beneath a blue bomber jacket is the tightly bandaged stump of his right arm, the end of which he rubs distractedly.

How did he lose it? During the previous invasion of Jenin by the Israeli army several weeks ago, he says. He was hiding with only his arm visible as he tried to throw a 'kwa' -- a home-made pipe bomb -- at a tank. Shrapnel from a shell severed it, he says.

But as a bomb-maker, one of the most highly respected positions in the Palestinian resistance, he could equally have lost the arm in less glorious circumstances: in one of the explosions that are a professional hazard of his job.

Omar admits he is one of only a few dozen fighters not to emerge either dead or in plastic handcuffs from the fiercest battle waged by the Palestinians during the Israeli army's invasion of the West Bank.

Of his group of 30 gunmen, only four escaped from the camp on Wednesday, after the Palestinian arsenal ran dry. Most of the others were shot dead.

"Of all the fighters in the West Bank we were the best prepared," he says. "We started working on our plan: to trap the invading soldiers and blow them up from the moment the Israeli tanks pulled out of Jenin last month."

Omar and other "engineers" made hundreds of explosive devices and carefully chose their locations.

"We had more than 50 houses booby-trapped around the camp. We chose old and empty buildings and the houses of men who were wanted by Israel because we knew the soldiers would search for them," he said.

"We cut off lengths of mains water pipes and packed them with explosives and nails. Then we placed them about four metres apart throughout the houses -- in cupboards, under sinks, in sofas."

The fighters hoped to disable the Israeli army's tanks with much more powerful bombs placed inside rubbish bins on the street. More explosives were hidden inside the cars of Jenin's most wanted men.

Connected by wires, the bombs were set off remotely, triggered by the current from a car battery.

According to Omar, everyone in the camp, including the children, knew where the explosives were located so that there was no danger of civilians being injured. It was the one weakness in the plan.

"We were betrayed by the spies among us," he says. The wires to more than a third of the bombs were cut by soldiers accompanied by collaborators. "If it hadn't been for the spies, the soldiers would never have been able to enter the camp. Once they penetrated the camp, it was much harder to defend."

And what about the explosion and ambush last Tuesday which killed 13 soldiers?

"They were lured there," he says. "We all stopped shooting and the women went out to tell the soldiers that we had run out of bullets and were leaving." The women alerted the fighters as the soldiers reached the booby- trapped area.

"When the senior officers realised what had happened, they shouted through megaphones that they wanted an immediate cease-fire. We let them approach to retrieve the men and then opened fire.

"Some of the soldiers were so shocked and frightened that they mistakenly ran towards us."

On Wednesday, after the fighters ran out of ammunition, he says, armoured vehicles roamed the streets calling out to them in Arabic: "You are finished and can't win against us. We are more powerful than you. Surrender."

He saw one fighter who went down to the street with his hands in the air shot dead by snipers. He chose to flee the camp, although he will not say how.

Using his left arm, Omar shot a revolver during the gun battles.

With a new intensity on his face, he leans forward to ask a question. Do I think the doctors will be able to give him a strong new artificial arm with fingers he can operate. I don't know, I say. Why?

"Because I want to be able to hold a heavy rifle again. That way I can kill more Israeli soldiers. It's that or become a suicide bomber."


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Israel
KEYWORDS: cook; hughhewitt; jenin; terrorism
It doesn't sound like there were any innocent victims in this camp. The entire town was one big booby-trap, and everyone knew about it. The Israelis should level the entire town, or whats left of it.
1 posted on 04/18/2002 5:45:20 PM PDT by CrossCheck
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To: CrossCheck
Thanks for the post. These admissions by a Jenin terrorist blow away the Pal/Eurotrash lies.
2 posted on 04/18/2002 5:47:28 PM PDT by tomahawk
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To: CrossCheck
. . . all the factions were loyal to only one cause: liberation or death.

But not old stumpy. He's loyal only to his own scummy life. Go Israel!

3 posted on 04/18/2002 5:54:57 PM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: CrossCheck
...a bomb-maker, one of the most highly respected positions in the Palestinian resistance...

Making pipe bombs is not that difficult.

4 posted on 04/18/2002 5:55:56 PM PDT by randog
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To: randog
Not if you have average intelligence. But remember, these are Pallies and ragheads are stupid.
5 posted on 04/18/2002 5:57:15 PM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: monkeyshine
bump
6 posted on 04/18/2002 6:02:42 PM PDT by d4now
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To: CrossCheck;
I give the IDF better odds than Richard Kimball in locating this guy with one arm.

The women who acted as spotters and suckered the soldiers is prima facia evidence justifying Israel's anger at the liberal media. They won't fight this war the way the Russians fought in Grozny or the way the United States fought in Afghanistan - from the safety of the skies. Hardly a building in Grozny was spared in the bombing; the Russians knew the price they'd pay if they tried to fight on the street. If Israel hit a hospital or Red Cross building from the skies the way that we did in Afghanistan, we know what the world's reaction would be.

7 posted on 04/18/2002 6:02:55 PM PDT by HockeyPop
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To: *RWCon
fyi
8 posted on 04/18/2002 6:10:12 PM PDT by Fish out of Water
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To: HockeyPop
Omar admits he is one of only a few dozen fighters not to emerge

He ran faster than the rest.

9 posted on 04/18/2002 6:22:37 PM PDT by STD
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To: HockeyPop
The simple truth is we have become entirely too civilized. War can not be civilized, it has to be painful so people will not want to go to war.
10 posted on 04/18/2002 6:23:14 PM PDT by McGavin999
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To: CrossCheck
"We cut off lengths of mains water pipes and packed them with explosives and nails. Then we placed them about four metres apart throughout the houses -- in cupboards, under sinks, in sofas."

Pretty much agreeing with Israeli descriptions. It also indicates that most of the destruction, and much of the loss of life, are attributable to the Palistinians, rather than the Israelis. The place is a disaster area, but it was the Pali's that blew it all to hell, with a little help from the Israelies I'm sure.

11 posted on 04/18/2002 6:35:49 PM PDT by El Gato
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To: Torie
Evidence gathering.
12 posted on 04/18/2002 6:42:00 PM PDT by Sabramerican
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To: dennisw; weikel; veronica; hugh hewitt
Ping.
13 posted on 04/18/2002 6:45:31 PM PDT by Shermy
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To: McGavin999
Indeed. We are not just "too civilized", but also immobilized with self analysis and confusion wrought by liberal orthodoxy. The Israelis are the town folk of old who put down their tools, kiss their wives and go off to war to defend their property and way of life. Hard and cruel, but yet romantic and inspiring.
14 posted on 04/18/2002 6:48:57 PM PDT by HockeyPop
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To: Shermy
Thanks for ping. Islamic truth bravado delusion all rolled into one revealing article. But Euros like this garbage and revere such killing when done by "authentic" 3rd worlders.
15 posted on 04/18/2002 6:57:24 PM PDT by dennisw
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To: d4now
Thanks for the ping. It's good to have this as evidence of what really happened.

Of all the carnage, at least 50 houses were destroyed by the Palestinians themselves. Not to mention the cars, trashcans, etc.

16 posted on 04/18/2002 7:02:28 PM PDT by monkeyshine
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To: CrossCheck
Where are all of the PLO suckups around here that called the Israelis liars for not admitting the press into Jenin due to the booby traps?
17 posted on 04/18/2002 7:04:28 PM PDT by AmericaUnited
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To: CrossCheck
The one thing in this story that might make it through the biased media is the allegation that after all of this, a sniper zapped a surrendering terrorist. Sad...and sick.
18 posted on 04/18/2002 7:04:43 PM PDT by Pearls Before Swine
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Comment #19 Removed by Moderator

To: CrossCheck
"We were betrayed by the spies among us," he says. The wires to more than a third of the bombs were cut by soldiers accompanied by collaborators. "If it hadn't been for the spies, the soldiers would never have been able to enter the camp.

Spies? SPIES? Bbbbut Omar, those are Palestinians you are talking about!

Surely you don't mean spies, maybe collaborators? is that the word you are searching for?

Palestinians who were helping the IDF ? Imagine that.
Yassir didn't say anything to Powell about collaborators.

Do you think he knows?

20 posted on 04/18/2002 7:14:46 PM PDT by tet68
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To: monkeyshine
I sure hope the IDF is careful in Gaza tonight. The terrorists have had weeks to get ready.
21 posted on 04/18/2002 7:15:46 PM PDT by d4now
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To: Pearls Before Swine
Omar didn't say whether the sniper was a Palie or an Israeli. He also didn't indicate as to whether the victim had booby-trapped himself. I've heard somewhere that the Palies are fond of suicide bombings.
22 posted on 04/18/2002 7:16:30 PM PDT by CrossCheck
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To: CrossCheck
OK Jonathon, lesson #1. Guys with one arm who make pipe bombs are not called "Engineers" they are called terrorist pipe bombers.

Lesson #2. Why were you talking to him when you should have told the IDF where he was?

23 posted on 04/18/2002 7:18:12 PM PDT by tet68
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To: Sabramerican
Definitely relevant evidence. Obviously, one issue is whether or not everyone was a warrior. Once we get the body count of woman and children, and the testimony of the IDF, maybe we will get a better sense of this. I hope and trust the Israeli authorities will comment on their view of why the body count of woman and children.
24 posted on 04/18/2002 7:35:45 PM PDT by Torie
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To: d4now
So has the IDF. And they've learned a thing or two.
25 posted on 04/18/2002 7:51:35 PM PDT by monkeyshine
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To: CrossCheck
BTTT
26 posted on 04/19/2002 1:38:21 PM PDT by Big Dan
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To: CrossCheck
I have a running commentary trying to explain the goings-on in the Middle East while my girlfriend watches the VCR tape of Peter Jennings sigh and shrug through his reports.

It's really valuable for me to tell her exactly what he will and won't be saying. I used to shudder to watch that jerk, and still do, but now I stay informed so I can tell her what Jennings will ignore or forget to mention even before it shows up in my house.

He does have good diction, though.

Once we caught a glimpse of Carol Simpson arranging her hair when she came back from a commercial! LOFLMAO!

27 posted on 04/19/2002 11:08:56 PM PDT by Big Dan
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To: randog
Hell, I made a rocket when I was 11 or 12 (That's the '50's). A pipe bomb is nothing but a glorified M-80.( Cherry Bombs and firecrackers in the Jumbo size) Everyone acts like these terrorist sh*t-tricks are akin to rocket science. These a**hole pali's would surrender in a flash if if we turned our teens on them with NO limit to their shenagins. My Dad owned a Tool & Die Shop. I could have made their rockets as an apprentice in my first year.

Nam Vet

28 posted on 04/19/2002 11:23:36 PM PDT by Nam Vet
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