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Israel arrests IRA bomb expert

Special to World Tribune.com
MIDDLE EAST NEWSLINE
Monday, July 14, 2003

TEL AVIV Israel has arrested an Irish Republican Army bomb expert suspected of being hired to train Palestinian insurgency groups.

Israeli officials said the Irish national, identified as John Morgan, was arrested on Saturday in an Arab neighborhood south of Ramallah. They said he arrived three weeks ago in Israel on a British passport and spent much of his time in the northern West Bank.

"He could be training the Palestinians in the assembly of bombs and mortars," an official said. "He could be a peace activist. We can't say for sure yet."



In April, two British nationals posing as peace activists carried out a suicide attack on a Tel Aviv pub. Three people were killed and Hamas claimed responsibility for the strike.

Officials said Israeli security authorities have sought more details on Morgan, reported to be 40 years old. They said that in 1999 he joined a wing of the IRA that refused to end the insurgency war against Britain.

The IRA member has been interrogated on suspicion that he was planning a major bombing attack in cooperation with Islamic Jihad, officials said. They said Jihad has formed ties with the IRA through Hizbullah, which in turn has helped the IRA in the production of mortars.

The officials said Morgan has denied any plans to carry out attacks in Israel.

"This was not meant to direct any specific attack, but to provide training and expertise," Boaz Ganor, a leading Israeli counter-insurgency expert, said. "We are talking about a bomb expert who is teaching them [Palestinians] to become more effective."

Officials said the investigation of Morgan was conducted in cooperation with British authorities.

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