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Explosives Found in Palestinian Ambulance RULE

April 1, 2002

The Israeli Army found an explosive belt and two wanted men inside an ambulance operated by the Palestinian Red Crescent, confirming suspicions that Palestinian ambulances and aid workers are being used to promote terrorist attacks in Israel.

A search of the Palestinian ambulance stopped on March 27, 2002 turned up two men identified as having direct links to terrorist organizations, the Israeli Army said. An explosive vest similar to those worn by suicide bombers was discovered hidden under a stretcher. The Palestinian Red Crescent is the equivalent of the Red Cross and is an internationally recognized emblem denoting Palestinian emergency rescue vehicles.

The Israeli Army said the driver was a member of the Tanzim militia, affiliated with Yasir Arafat's Fatah movement, and a man identified by Israel as a wanted terrorist. The ambulance was heading from Nablus to Ramallah in the West Bank.

"Ambulances bearing the symbol of an independent, peaceful medical aid organization should be working to save lives, not facilitating acts of violence against Israel," said Abraham H. Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League.

ADL has repeatedly called on the International Red Cross to condemn the use of humanitarian vehicles in terrorist attacks. In November 2000, ADL called for an investigation after the Israeli Defense Forces indicated that Palestinian ambulances were being used as cover for gunman shooting at Israeli soldiers and civilians.

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