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Arrests In Hebrew Univ. Bombing

A Palestinian house painter employed by Jerusalem's Hebrew University has been arrested on suspicion he planted a bomb at the student cafeteria that killed nine people, including five Americans, last month, security officials announced Wednesday.

The suspect was part of a 15-member cell run by the Islamic militant group Hamas, the announcement said.

In addition to the university bombing, the group is believed to have chosen the targets and brought suicide bombers to an attack on Cafe Moment in Jerusalem and a billiard club in Rishon Letzion.

The cell members are also believed to have planted several bombs along Israeli train tracks and one on a fuel tanker which was parked at the Pi Glilot gas depot near Tel Aviv but failed to ignite the fuel storage tanks when it detonated, media said.

In all, the group is suspected of having carried out attacks which killed 35 people in some of the deadliest bombings since the start of a Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation in September 2000, Israeli media said.

Several of the suspects are residents of Jerusalem who carry Israeli identity cards that allow them free movement in Israel, security officials said.

The house painter was identified as Mohammed Oudeh, a resident of the Silwan neighborhood of Jerusalem.

Oudeh received the explosives from accomplices in the West Bank town of Ramallah, security officials said. On the night before the attack, he jumped over the university's fence, and hid the explosives under a bush.

The next morning, he walked through the main gate with his employee's permit, picked up the bomb and planted it in the cafeteria. He then left, and detonated the explosives with a cellphone from a distance, the officials said.

The next day, Oudeh was called in to work by his unsuspecting boss, an Israeli contractor, the official said.

The cell was uncovered Saturday, as two of its members were on their way to Tel Aviv to carry out another attack, the officials said. One suspect was caught at a surprise checkpoint, while two fled. The fugitives were caught after a chase through Jerusalem.

The cell was responsible for attacks that killed 35 people in recent months.

Israel captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East War and annexed it in a move not recognized internationally.

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