Terrorists Might Launch 'Mega Attack' in Israel on New Year's Eve

By Julie Stahl | July 7, 2008 | 8:14 PM EDT

Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) - Terrorist organizations are planning to carry out a "mega" terror attack on New Year's Eve, according to intelligence information, an Israeli newspaper said on Monday.

According to the warnings, the terrorists plan to inflict massive casualties either by striking with a non-conventional attack, hitting an infrastructure target or attacking soft targets such as schools or hospitals, said the report in the Hebrew daily Ma'ariv.

Israeli government sources would not confirm the warnings specifically for Wednesday night but said that Israel continues to receive information on scores of possible terror attacks, including "mega attacks."

Israel is constantly on the lookout to thwart attacks, the sources said.

According to the report, police are prepared for three scenarios: an attack by air using an airplane or other flying device; by sea using a sailing device or terrorists that arrive by sea; or a ground attack using several suicide terrorists and car bombs.

Police spokesman Gil Kleiman declined to comment on the report, but he said that a number of exercises have been conducted with security forces regarding chemical and biological attack scenarios.

New Year's Day, known as Sylvester's Day in Israel, is not widely celebrated here because it is considered a Christian holiday for Saint Sylvester, nor is New Year's Day celebrated as a national holiday. But there will still be plenty of parties and public gatherings with crowds of people.

Meanwhile, suicide bombings returned to Israel last week after almost three months without a major attack. Four people were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a bus stop near Petah Tikva in central Israel last Thursday.

It had been the first suicide bombing since a woman blew herself up in a Haifa restaurant two days before the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur, killing 21 people, but Israel has thwarted a number of terror attacks in recent weeks.

The attack came only minutes after the Israeli Air Force helicopters killed Makhled Hamed, the head of Islamic Jihad's military wing, in a targeted strike in the Gaza Strip, which left at least four others dead and a dozen more wounded.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said on Sunday that there has been an increase in efforts by terrorist groups to carry out attacks, although the Israeli army has thwarted many such attacks recently.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon appointed Maj.-General Giora Eiland on Sunday as the coordinator of a team that will prepare a plan for Israel's "security deployment" in the event that the U.S.-backed "road map" peace plan is not implemented.

Sharon formally stated his intention to "disengage" from the Palestinians unilaterally for security reasons within a few months if they do not implement their part of the road map - including bringing a halt to and actively fighting terrorism.

Washington opposes the plan, saying that the road map is the only way to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the establishment of a Palestinian state. The Palestinians have condemned the plan, fearing that it will leave them far less land for a future state.

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