TEL AVIV ø 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
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
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
"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
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
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.