by DEBKAfile, 27 January 2002

"Noon Sunday, January 27, after Yasser Arafat declared publicly that ďone million martyrs are on their way to JerusalemĒ, the first woman suicide bomber detonated a massively powerful bomb-belt in the middle of the road on Jerusalemís busy Jaffa Street. The blast went up at the same place that a Palestinian gunman killed two women and wounded 49 five days earlier. It was violent enough to blow out 70 shop and office windows, severely damage their interiors and blacken facades the length of the street. Flying glass, shrapnel and sharp nails sent the number of injured on the crowded thoroughfare soaring. Pinhas Tokatly, 81, fifth generation Jerusalemite, was killed outright and more than 160 people hospitalized, including two policemen on patrol.

Last August, another Palestinian suicide blasted a pizzeria round the corner, killing 15 civilians.
Several hours after the attack, no Palestinian group had claimed responsibility.

Two days earlier, on Friday, a 17-year old suicide bomber, on a joint mission for Arafatís Tanzim and the Jihad Islami, blew up a nail-packed bomb in a pedestrian shopping mall, injuring 25.

DEBKAfile ís military counter-terror experts believe the most urgent task facing Israeli intelligence is to identity the woman who blew herself up in Jerusalem. The Hizballah TV station Al Manar identified her as a young 20-year old Palestinian student at Nablus al Najah University called Shahinez al-Souri. Palestinian sources proudly named her the first Palestinian woman suicide. However, no one in Nablus or at the deeply religious university has ever heard of her. Anyway, Islamic religious sages prohibit female martyrs.

The hypothesis under examination in the initial stages of the inquiry is that the woman came from outside the country, from Lebanon, Turkey or Greece, on a mission for some external agency, with orders to collect her bomb-belt from a Palestinian source.

DEBKAfileís counter-terror experts postulate four possible agencies:
A. The Lebanese Hizballah.
B.  Imad Mughniyeh, the veteran Lebanese-Iranian arch-terrorist, who organized the kidnap of three Israeli soldiers in October 2000and the clandestine sea route that sent the Karine-A smuggling vessel on its way to the Palestinians. Mughniyeh has employed women before, some Iranian, in his intelligence and terror networks.
C.  Yasser Arafatís sleeper terror rings in West Europe, never activated in the current conflict and as dangerous as Mughniyehís operation.
D.  Iraqi military intelligence.

If the mystery bomber gained entry to Israel through a security gap, she may not be the only one. More unidentified foreign terrorists may follow.

Some experts pose a counter-hypothesis, hinging on Arafatís million martyrs boast: In Islamic terms, the Algerian liberation war against France in the 1950s became known as the War of the Million Martyrs. By using this epithet, Arafat is promising the Palestinians they will triumph over the Israelis, just as the Algerians defeated France. Women were active in the Algerian War. Furthermore, according DEBKAfile ís counter-terror experts, Algerian war veterans work for Arafatís covert cells in Europe ...

The name al-Souri is not a Palestinian name, indicating the bomberís origin from a village called Sour or even the Lebanese coastal town of Tyre.  Sundayís suicide attack in Jerusalem may therefore presage the re-activation of the SSNP, in conjunction with Mughniyeh and Arafat.

Arafatís million martyrs declaration may signify his willingness to sacrifice the entire Palestinian people for the sake of his jihad. After sending children to their deaths, he would have no compunctions about sacrificing women to make martyrs of the entire Palestinian people.

In his latest briefing to the government in Jerusalem, Israeli military intelligence commander, Maj.-Gen. Aharon Zeevi said Sunday that Arafat has given the green light to his Tanzim and every other group willing to launch spectacular terror attacks inside Israel.

The Palestinian leader is deep in the process of harnessing outside forces to his all-out terror campaign against Israel. Arresting his headlong rampage of violence requires a decision that can only be taken in Washington."