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Cell phones detonate terror in Middle East
Last summer, Mohammed Oudeh walked into a crowded cafeteria of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and placed a handbag filled with explosives on a table.
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He left the building and then detonated the remote-controlled bomb using a cell phone. Nine people were killed and 85 others were injured in a blast that gutted the cafeteria.
The militant Palestinian organization Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.
Cell-phone triggered remote-controlled bombs are a dangerous development in the arsenal of terrorists. Most of the bomb attacks carried out by Palestinian militants during the 'Intifada' of the past two years have been suicide attacks in which the bomber detonates explosives carried or strapped to his or her body. By rigging a cell phone to function as a trigger, the bomber can detonate his device safely from a distance.
Cell phones have been implicated in other attacks in Israel. A 2001 attack against an ultra-Orthodox elementary school in the Mea She'arim neighbourhood of Jerusalem was thwarted when the bomb was discovered in a nearby dumpster. A local resident defused the bomb, which was attached to a cell-phone detonator.
The previous month, a cell-phone triggered pipe bomb exploded on a Tel Aviv bus, wounding 14 Israelis. The 'mega bomb' intercepted on the eve of the Jewish New Year in September 2002 consisted of 1300 pounds of explosives, two barrels of gasoline laced with shrapnel, and a cell-phone detonator.
Israel has also made use of cell phone technology in its campaign against Palestinian militants. Israel's internal security service is alleged to have assassinated Palestinian bomb-maker Yahya Ayyash, aka "The Engineer", with an exploding cell phone in 1996.
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