TEL AVIV Ñ 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
"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
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
"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.