by DEBKAfile
2 January 2002

"A US Sixth Fleet ship docked in Haifa two weeks ago carrying counter-measures for nuclear warfare, especially highly radioactive “dirty bombs”, as well as vaccines and antidotes to counter biological and poison gas contamination, such as anthrax and smallpox.

The transfer was made as part of US military preparations in the region. It is an indicator that a US strike against Saddam Hussein may be contemplated in Washington in the short run and that protective measures for Israelis, as well as American forces in the region, have been lined up for the contingency of an Iraqi counter-strike.

DEBKAfile’s sources add that the defense authorities decided to leave the freight aboard the US vessel for the moment - firstly, so as not to alert the public to US war preparations in the region; second, to give the authorities time to arrange a high-security, insulated storage facility for a sizeable quantity of anti-toxin materials and equipment ...

The LondonTimes reports Wednesday, January 2, the conviction of Israeli intelligence that Palestinian bomb-makers have begun mixing toxic substances in the explosives used in their suicide attacks. The suicide bomber who blew himself up last month near the Jerusalem David Citadel hotel ... carried a bomb laced with lethal pesticides. The architects of this new generation of bombs are believed to be Jassar Samaro and Naseen Abu Rus, who were trained by the Lebanese terror group, the Hizballah, and work out of a secret laboratory at the al Najah University of Nablus.

DEBKAfile was the first publication to report the collaboration deal agreed last year between Yasser Arafat and Hizballah to enhance Palestinian terror capabilities.  The same two Palestinian bomb manufacturers are also thought to have made the shoe bomb used by Richard Reid to try and blow up an American Airlines plane bound from Paris to Miami just before Christmas.