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Jewish Terrorists Still at Large…

November 2, 2009

Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – A senior official from Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency told Israel Radio on Monday that a number of “Jewish terrorists” were still at large and planning future attacks. The unnamed official’s announcement came a day after Israel lifted a gag order revealing that police had arrested Israeli settler Yaakov Teitel on charges that he killed two Palestinians and carried out a string of bomb attacks.

Disputing claims from Teitel’s attorney the day before, the Shin Bet official insisted the settler is not mentally unstable, describing him instead as an extremist, who acted “carefully, decisively and with sophistication,” according to the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz.

The official added that Teitel and his sympathizers could be considered far more dangerous than even the so-called Jewish underground and Yigal Amir, who assassinated former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin some 14 years ago. “You don’t need an underground with 100 people in order to cause grave damage,” the Shin Bet official said.

An immigrant from the US, 37-year-old Teitel was arrested in Jerusalem on 7 October. Authorities say he confessed to shooting to death a Palestinian shepherd south of Hebron in 1997 and killing an East Jerusalem taxi driver the same year. Teitel is also suspected to have carried out a series of bomb attacks, including one that seriously wounded a teenager from a Messianic Jewish family in the settlement of Ariel, and another that lightly wounded liberal Hebrew University historian Zeev Sternhell.

He also was also allegedly responsible for a blast that damaged a police car at the time of a gay pride parade. Teitel even claimed during his questioning to involvement in the attack on a gay and lesbian youth club in Tel Aviv in August, in which two people were killed. Israeli security officials said, however, that there was not sufficient evidence to link him to the shooting.

During a search of his home, police claimed to have discovered rifles, handguns and explosive materials. But they were unable to find the gun which he allegedly used to kill either of the two Palestinians, Haaretz said. Teitel, a resident of the northern West Bank settlement of Shvut Rachel, near Nablus, was born in the US state of Florida and began travelling to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories in the 1990s before “immigrating” in 2000.

A Sunday profile in Haaretz reported that the man became involved in the “Hilltop Youth” fringe of the settler movement, which has called for radical grassroots mobilization against Palestinians and even Israeli soldiers over what they view as their religious duty to settle the “Land of Israel.” After the March 1997 shooing of Palestinian shepherd Issa Jibril, Teitel told authorities that he had come to the country with the specific aim of shooting Palestinians in revenge for suicide bombings.

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