Thursday, May 28th, 2009
(Here’s another look back at the aftermath of the previous attack by Islamic radicals in Riverdale)
May 20, 2003
A Fire Next Time
The sentencing of an Arab who tried to bomb a Riverdale synagogue brings fears to surface.
Jonathan Mark - Associate Editor
Khaled J., leaning against a wall in the gloomy light of the Bronx County Courthouse, says he has nothing against Jews.
The United States has long barred the types of “physical pressure” outlawed by Israel’s Supreme Count this week in an historic ruling. But that has not hamstrung law enforcement officials here in their counterterrorism efforts, say experts.
This applies even to so-called “ticking time bomb” cases — where authorities are acting to prevent an imminent terrorist attack — of the sort that Israel claims pose a unique threat to its society, these sources say.
The FBI is ignoring its own guidelines on terrorism in the July 4 El Al shootings, possibly undermining America's war against Islamic extremists, several experts told The Jewish Week.
The counterterrorism experts, both American and Israeli, say they are baffled by the FBI's continuing refusal to label as terrorism the Independence Day attack at the El Al counter at Los Angeles International Airport by an Egyptian gunmen that killed a female El Al ticket agent, an Israeli diamond broker, and wounded three others.
Charging that the FBI is being compromised by political concerns, activist Rabbi Avi Weiss is seeking a meeting with U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft to discuss why the July 4 shootings at Los Angeles International Airport have not been classified a terrorist incident: in apparent neglect of the Justice Department's own guidelines.
Two Brooklyn congressmen have joined a grassroots campaign to have the FBI officially designate the July 4 shootings at Los Angeles International Airport by an Egyptian gunman as a suspected terrorist attack.
"The FBI's failure to publicly acknowledge this fact is dangerous because it lessens the vigilance against similar acts ... in the near future," said Rep. Major Owens in a July 21 press statement.
Rep. Anthony Weiner, in a letter to FBI director Robert Mueller, urged Mueller to investigate the act as "a possible terrorist attack."
Eric Greenberg is a staff writer. Michele Chabin is an Israel correspondent.
Jewish institutions and synagogues in New York City were being warned to boost their security in light of last week’s U.S. attacks on suspected terrorist sites in the Sudan and Afghanistan, while Israeli officials in Jerusalem are viewing the current crisis as part of a continuum of preparedness.
The FBI, under pressure from the Jewish community, is now investigating the July 4 killing of two Jews at the El Al counter at Los Angeles International Airport as a terrorist incident.
This comes nearly eight weeks after the bureau first rejected, then downplayed, that the random shooting by an Egyptian gunman might have been a terrorist act.
The first national Jewish emergency warning system will be launched within the next few weeks, enabling Jewish leaders to communicate quickly during a terrorist threat or attack, The Jewish Week has learned.
It is believed to be the first crisis alert system serving a specific community in the United States.
The project, called Secure Community Alert Network, or SCAN, includes the leading Jewish organizations in the nation, as well as hundreds of Jewish community centers, federations and educational institutions.
With a provocative title like "If this is World War III, how do we win?" one might have thought a forum on terrorism would have presented a unified vision of what's in store for the world in the face of rising militant Islam and an imminent regime change in Iraq.
But there were glaring differences among such ex-heads of state as Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, Prime Minister Ehud Barak, Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt and Jordan's Crown Prince Hassan about how to view the world terror threat and, indeed, what is responsible for the current situation.
State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is checking into the 1973 disappearance of two missing Brooklyn teens following an appeal by friends and relatives who charge that New York City and Sullivan County police botched the case and misled them.
In addition, the head of a state missing children's agency is expected to meet with family members to discuss what steps could be taken to help solve the 27-year-old mystery.