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SUICIDE BOMBER KILLS 1, INJURES 115
* PINHAS TOKATLI IS REMEMBERED AS A "GENTLE MAN WHO REF7USED TO GROW OLD"
* JERUSALEM POLICE CHIEF AFTER HEART ATTACK: I WANT TO GO BACK TO "THE SCENE"
* SHARON, SILVAN, OLMERT DISCUSS JERUSALEM ECONOMIC AID PLAN
* TARIF RESIGNS FROM GOVERNMENT
* ECONOMIC BRIEFS
SUICIDE BOMBER KILLS 1, INJURES 115
SUICIDE BOMBER KILLS 1, INJURES 115
A female Palestinian suicide bomber strapped with explosives blew herself up in downtown Jerusalem on Sunday, killing Pinhas Tokatli, 81, of Jerusalem and wounding more than 115 people, THE JERUSALEM POST reported.
The attack occurred outside a shoe store near the King George Street-Jaffa Road intersection, where another suicide attack occurred just five days earlier. This is the first recorded suicide bombing attack carried out by a woman. The terrorist, Shinaz Amuri, a student at Nablus’s A-Najah University, was armed with more than 22 lbs of explosives.
"There was a loud whoosh and a bang. I saw things and people flying in front of my face, before being pushed over myself by the force of the blast," Mark Sokolow, 43, recalled from his bedside in the intensive care unit of Bikur Holim Hospital, where he was recuperating from shrapnel wounds to his cheek and right leg. Sokolow is also a survivor from the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
Shoshana Bracho, 48, another wounded victim, recalls that "Everything fell on me; it was complete darkness. The explosion just does not stop ringing in my ears."
Israel Security Cabinet Secretary Gideon Sa’ar said the attack was "a direct result of the actions and failures of Yasser Arafat…. He bears exclusive responsibility for these attacks." He added that Arafat is encouraging suicide attacks through speeches like the one he gave in Ramallah on Saturday calling for "millions of martyrs" to march on Jerusalem and saying: "Please God, give me the honor of being one of holy Jerusalem’s martyrs."
Meanwhile, according to HA’ARETZ, an eight year-old boy was stabbed and lightly wounded today by two Palestinians at his home in the Jewish community of Elon Moreh, located in the West Bank.
In other incidents today, Jerusalem police arrested a Palestinian and his driver, when it was discovered that the Palestinian was carrying a stun grenade. The arrests were made near the Rockefeller Museum in the eastern section of the city.
Also today, border policemen arrested five Palestinians carrying knives on the Taibeh-Kalansua road and a 16-year-old Palestinian from Sderot was arrested for planting explosives near his school and a shopping area. Additionally, police arrested three Palestinians suspected of terrorist activity near the village of Marda, located in the West Bank.
TOKATLI IS REMEMBERED AS A "GENTLE MAN WHO REFUSED TO GROW OLD"
Pinhas Tokatli, 81, killed in Sunday’s Jerusalem suicide bombing was laid to rest today at the Har Hamenuhot Cemetery. Tokatli was born in Jerusalem and is a fifth generation Israeli. He served in the Hagana, and worked in advertising. He died only a short distance from the spot on Jaffa Road where, in the 1940s, British soldiers beat him up, damaging his vision.
After retiring, he became interested in cycling and was one of the founders of the Jerusalem cycling club. His son Gilad, 35, said his father went riding on his bicycle daily and was an amateur painter. He was on his way home from painting class when he was killed.
Gilad described his father as a gentle man, who refused to grow old. "My father hated the bus and used to walk or ride his bike," he said.
The bicycle was left outside the family’s home in the Kiryat Hayovel section, which is filled with dozens of Tokatli’s paintings, many of his beloved Jerusalem. His wife Hanna, two sons, two daughters and 13 grandchildren survive him.
POLICE CHIEF AFTER HEART ATTACK: I WANT TO GO BACK TO "THE SCENE"
Jerusalem Police Chief Mickey Levy suffered a heart attack after the suicide bombing attack on Sunday, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Levy arrived at the scene minutes after the attack and began the investigation. After he instructed the police forces and briefed the media, he suffered severe chest pains and was immediately taken to the Bikur Holim Hospital. When he regained consciousness, Levy asked to be released so he could return to "the scene." Doctors said Levy is in good condition and is expected to make a full recovery. He will remain hospitalized for several days.
According to MA’ARIV, Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert, who immediately arrived at the hospital, said that the heart attack was probably the result of the harsh reality of the last few months in Jerusalem. "Mickey lives the pain and suffering of this city, and I believe he will overcome this weakness and get back to his job soon," Olmert said. Police Inspector-General Shlomo Aharonishsky described Levy as "someone who works with all his heart and soul." He added that "Mickey is situated at the center of action in the busiest and most complex city in Israel and it is important for the people of Jerusalem and for the nation as a whole that he will get well soon."
SHARON, SILVAN, OLMERT
DISCUSS JERUSALEM ECONOMIC AID PLAN
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon met with Minister of Finance Silvan Shalom and Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert today to discuss ways of aiding business owners in central Jerusalem who have been financially hurt by the latest suicide attacks, MA’ARIV reported. Initial infratsructrure damage estimates from Sunday’s suicide bombing alone indicate a cost of NIS10 million (approximately $2.5 million).
According to HA’ARETZ, Olmert asked that central Jerusalem business owners be excluded from property and sales taxes. He also asked that Sharon provide Jerusalem residents with "income tax points" similar to those that residents of the Negev and Galilee receive.
Sharon appointed Minister for Jerusalem Affairs Eli Suissa, Mayor Olmert and Ministry of Finance Director-General Ohad Marani to head a committee that will prepare an economic aid plan for the city of Jerusalem.
TARIF RESIGNS FROM GOVERNMENT
Minister in the Prime Minister’s office responsible for Arab Affairs Salah Tarif (Labor), the first non-Jewish minister in an Israeli cabinet, handed in his resignation to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Sunday, after Attorney-General Elyakim Rubinstein decided to indict Tarif on charges of bribery and breach of trust, HA’ARETZ reported. Tarif is charged with allegedly intervening to win a citizenship for a West Bank businessman, in exchange for a cash payment.
Rubinstein requested from the Knesset toady that Tarif’s immunity be removed to bring him to trial. The Knesset House Committee will deliberate next Monday.
The traditional annual Tu Bishvat, the fifteenth Day of the month of Shevat, tree planting opened today as President Moshe Katsav planted a tree in the Jerusalem Forest, Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL, reported. Thousands of trees were planted across Israel and the country’s supermarket chains expanded their dried fruit department and feature various types of nuts and traditional Tu Bishvat fruits, such as figs, dates, raisins and dried apricots.
* Israel’s Netafim Irrigation Company and Ben Gurion University’s International Program for Arid Land Crops (IPALAC) won a $250,000 grant from the World Bank to improve the quality of life in West Africa, GLOBES reported. The joint project will help improved the nutritional and agricultural conditions in a number of regions in Niger.
*RADA Electronic Industries Ltd. finalized a deal with Smiths Aerospace on Sunday to produce Digital Video Ground Debriefing Stations for the F-16I ordered for the Israel Air Force, GLOBES reported. The deal is valued at about $3 million. The contract is part of a large deal signed between the manufacturers of the advanced F-16 I, Lockheed Martin, and the Maryland-based Smiths Aerospace. The Digital Video Ground Debriefing Station is designed for post-flight debriefing, but it can be easily upgraded to include an Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation.
Israel Line is a daily summary of major news items taken directly from the Israeli media.