Police suspect bomb was warning to gay activists
Bomb goes off near Beit Shemesh vineyard, injuring builder working at adjacent security fence construction site. Police uncover leaflets warning against upcoming pride parade in Jerusalem near scene of crime, gay activists blame strictly Orthodox extremists
Unknown persons detonated a medium-sized explosive device near a peaceful vineyard by the Israeli town of Beit Shemesh early Friday morning.
The bomb's location ran close to the path of the security fence being built just south of the town, near the Beit Jamal monastery, and a civilian tractor driver working at the construction site was lightly wounded in the explosion. An emergency medical team evacuated the man to the Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital in Jerusalem.
Security forces investigating the scene later reported that they had uncovered leaflets at the scene of the crime which apparently call for the cancellation of the upcoming gay pride parade, set to be held in Jerusalem in late June.
The leaflets found nearby speak of last year’s controversial pride parade in Jerusalem and called out against holding future parades in the capital. Jerusalem Police investigators say that are pursing the case and security forces scoured the area for additional explosives.
Last Sunday the Open House for Pride and Tolerance filed an official request with the Jerusalem Police seeking authorization to hold a pride parade in the capital on June 21.
“I hope there is no connection between the explosion that occurred near Beit Shemesh and the haredim
(strictly Orthodox), but nothing would surprise me in light of their behavior during the previous gay parade,” Open House member Saar Netanel said.
“If there is in fact a connection, then this is very severe and only proves that we cannot give in to terror and threats,” he said.
Lilach Shoval contributed to this report