Pi Glilot bombing attempt
|Pi Glilot bombing|
|Part of the Second Intifada militancy campaign|
|Location||Tel Aviv, Israel|
|Date||May 23, 2002|
|Perpetrators||Hamas claimed responsibility|
The Pi Glilot bombing was an attempt by a Palestinian terrorist to cause a massive explosion in the Pi Glilot LPG depot north of Tel Aviv. It occurred on May 23, 2002. The attempt was foiled with no injuries, but if it had succeeded, it could have killed hundreds of Israeli citizens in a massive fireball.
On Thursday, May 23, 2002, an Israeli truck driver drove a truck into the Pi Glilot gas depot, located in Herzliya, north of Tel Aviv near Ramat Aviv and the Glilot junction on Highway 2. As the truck was being filled with diesel, a bomb on the underside of the truck was detonated, causing the truck to rupture and catch fire. The driver was thrown from the vehicle but was not injured. Safety workers at the facility put out the fire using sprinkler systems.
Israeli police stated that the bomb had been placed on the truck by a Palestinian terrorist while the truck was parked overnight in a publicly accessible lot. He waited for the truck to be refueled, then detonated the bomb using a remote-control device, possibly a mobile phone.
Israeli officials said that if the plot had succeeded, the fire would have spread to nearby gas tanks stored in the Pi Glilot facility. This would have sparked a chain reaction, causing a massive fireball that would have consumed everything within a radius of several kilometers, killing thousands of people. If the truck had been carrying a more volatile fuel than diesel, disaster would have been more likely.
Before the attack, several attempts were made to find a suitable place to relocate the Pi Glilot facility away from a densely populated area. These attempts were blocked by local governments who did not want the gas depot to be built in their jurisdictions. 3,000 tons of gas were stored at the facility.
The Pi Glilot was one of many attacks in May 2002 as part of the Second intifada. A suicide bomber attacked a crowded city center in Rishon Lezion that same evening of May 23 at 9:30 PM. Israeli security foiled in 2003 a plot to bomb the Azrieli towers in Tel Aviv with a 1,000-kilogram bomb.
After the attack, operations at the Pi Glilot facility were suspended. The government demanded that the facility be shut down within 90 days, but changed its mind and allowed it to remain open until 2004.
This incident occurred two weeks after the end of Operation Defensive Shield, a military operation by the Israeli army to combat Palestinian terrorist groups, by carrying out raids, such as during the Battle of Jenin and the Siege of the Church of the Nativity, in the West Bank.
In the immediate aftermath, no Palestinian organization claimed responsibility for the attack. Later, in November 2002, the Israeli Shin Bet found a Hamas group that was responsible for the Pi Glilot bombing and other attacks. Three members of a Hamas cell in Jerusalem that orchestrated the Pi Glilot attack were given life sentences for other attacks that killed 35 people.
- "Bomb blast at fuel depot could have killed thousands." Israel Faxx, May 24, 2002.
- Yehuda Lancry. "Letter dated 24 May 2002 from the Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General."
- "Pi Glilot to remain operating until 2004." by Stuart Winer, Jerusalem Post, 30 September 2002.
- This is given in multiple news reports.
- "Shin Bet uncovers Hamas cell operating with help of Israeli Arabs." Margot Dudkevich, Jerusalem Post. November 18, 2002.
- "Hamas cell members in Jerusalem given life sentences." Etgar Lefkovits, Jerusalem Post. December 16, 2002.