Hamas claims poison bombs

Thursday, December 13, 2001

The Associated Press

JERUSALEM -- The military wing of the Islamic militant Hamas group said Wednesday that poisonous chemicals planted on bombs its activists exploded recently have spread terror among Israelis even more effectively than its earlier attacks.

Israel's Health Ministry revealed this week that nails and bolts packed into explosives detonated by a Hamas suicide bomber Dec. 1 in a Jerusalem pedestrian mall had been dipped into rat poison.

The report unnerved many Israelis who already live with the fear of a biochemical attack from Iraq.

On its Web site, Izzedine al-Qassam claimed its militants now had a new weapon that had created "a situation of fear in the Zionist security services." The Hamas military wing cited Israeli media reports of public consternation at the prospect of Palestinian chemical warfare.

Police spokesman Gil Kleiman said that since 1994, traces of various toxic chemicals had been found at the sites of at least five Palestinian bombing attacks. He said it was unclear if they had been deliberately added to make the bombs more deadly or if the explosives had been transported in containers that previously contained the substances.

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