Suicide bomb torpedoes test
of anti-suicide tech in Israel

Monday, February 23, 2004

TEL AVIV Israel has introduced a pilot anti-suicide bombing system on passenger buses.

The system was meant to have been inaugurated on Sunday in Jerusalem. But a suicide bombing two hours earlier in Jerusalem torpedoed the scheduled ceremony.

Buses began operating the systems on Monday. They will be used on lines in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

The system, developed by the state-owned Israel Military Industries, was said to include sensors that could detect bombs. The system also has a barrier to prevent people from entering the bus through the back door.

But officials said the low-technology system is not sufficient to stop suicide bombings.

The Science Ministry has urged scientists and the public to contribute ideas to improve the system. Officials said among the proposals was for the development of a sensor that would measure the level of anxiety of incoming passengers to help determine whether any of them was preparing for a suicide attack.

"The problem is to figure out how such data as perspiration, irregular breathing and other traits amount to a suicide bomber," an Israeli official involved in the effort said. "The traits could match many of the passengers who are running to catch a bus."

In the suicide bombing, eight Israelis were killed and more than 70 were injured. Most of the casualties and injured were schoolchildren. Officials said two security guards boarded the bus and did not detect the suicide bomber, identified as a resident from the Bethlehem-area village of Hussan.

Officials at Israel's Transportation Ministry said the new system screens passengers on five buses that run in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. "We have to see how this works, how the public takes to this and whether this is applicable," IMI chairman Arie Mizrahi said, "and then to take it to mass production."

IMI executives stressed that the new system did not represent any technological breakthrough. They said the system would continue to undergo development to install sensors that would detect bombs before an attacker entered the vehicle.

Print this Article Print this Article Email this article Email this article Subscribe to this Feature Free Headline Alerts
Search Worldwide Web Search Search WorldTrib Archives

See current edition of

Return to World Front Cover