JERUSALEM, Feb. 23 (Xinhuanet) -- Israeli security forces were on high alert throughout the country Monday, for fear of terror attacks timed to coincide with the opening of an International Court of Justice hearing in The Hague over the legality of its West Bank barrier.
As the morning dawned, there were 52 active alerts of attacks, Israel Radio reported. Security forces were on the second-highest alert of five stages, just one level down from a state of emergency, Army Radio said.
Government sources in Jerusalem said Sunday that Israel would not launch a harsh military response to a suicide bombing on a bus in the city during morning rush hour, which killed eight people andwounded 72 others.
Security forces also went on heightened alert Sunday due to terror warnings and the upcoming debate on the separation fence at the world court.
A large number of troops were to be deployed along the Green Line and around the Jerusalem area and roadblocks were to be erected at the entrances to major cities.
Military sources said Sunday that there would be no choice but to operate in Bethlehem in the near future due to a significant rise in terrorist activities in the city over the past few months.
Israeli soldiers on Sunday night demolished the house of the suicide bomber who carried out the morning attack, Israel Radio reported Monday.
The Israeli troops on Sunday reinstated its siege on Bethlehem and arrested several members of the suicide bomber's family in the village of Hussan near the West Bank city.
Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, associated with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, on Sunday claimed responsibility for the attack that killed eight people, including two women.
A statement released by the militant group named the bomber as Mohammed Za'el, 23, from the village of Hussan.
Za'el was married and a father to a child. His wife is reportedly pregnant.
The statement condemned the separation fence being built by Israel in the West Bank, calling it "a Nazi wall which will not stop us attacking."
It said that the attack was also in retaliation for the killing of 15 Palestinians during an Israeli military operation in the GazaStrip on Feb. 11. Enditem