"At round about 16:43 IT, Monday, December 10, US Middle East envoy former General Anthony Zinni was due to pass through the el Baluah suburb of N. Ramallah on his way to call on Yasser Arafat, when a truck loaded with gas canisters blew up. The explosion occurred two or three minute before the American convoy’s arrival. The Palestinian truck driver was killed ...
According to the Israeli military, the truck was probably booby-trapped and detonated by remote control ... His route was to have taken him past the site of the blast ... Zinni was slightly delayed on his way to Ramallah, which may have saved his life and those of his escort of US security personnel.
DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources suggest that the explosion was either a serious attempt on Zinni’s life or a signal that the Palestinians would prefer him to go, their answer to his ultimatum. Sunday, he gave the Palestinians and Israelis 48 hours to make progress, or he would consider leaving the region.
Any investigation would attempt to discover
who among Arafat’s staff knew the time of his appointment with the US envoy
and tipped off the would-be assassins. Another key question is who set
up the booby-trapped truck. This would have required more than an hour
or two’s work, unless the Palestinians have a fleet of them ready to go.
Until now, the only Middle East terror groups attempting to assassinate senior US personnel were al Qaeda and the Hizballah. The Palestinians now join that list.
This looks their answer to the diplomatic offensive
the United States launched against Palestinian terror in the last couple
of weeks, and may be only the opening shot of their coming showdown against
America and Israel combined."