Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Terrorists Train at UN School

RAMALLAH, West Bank -- At first glance, the Ramallah Men's Training Center looks like a bucolic, nonthreatening sort of place where Palestinian students who want to become teachers can get a relatively good education, while resting in the shade and playing soccer.


But according to Israeli officials, there's more that goes in this UN-run facility than meets the eye. One of its students, they note, was Raed Shaghnoubi, the 21-year-old Palestinian who detonated a bomb on a Jerusalem bus Sunday, killing 19.


Another student was Mohammed Abu Wardeh, whom authorities described as the "mastermind" of three of the four recent bombings. Abu Wardeh was arrested Monday night by the Palestinian police, who say he recruited suicide bombers for the militant Islamic group Hamas from the school and elsewhere.


Tuesday, the gates were closed, and school administrators refused to talk. A United Nations spokesman said he had no comment, and students who were seen talking to reporters were sharply reprimanded and pulled away by teachers.


"This is not a fundamentalist college," insisted one 23-year-old student who asked not to be identified. "Of course there are Hamas people here. Hamas is everywhere. You find fundamentalists everywhere in the West Bank. But we also have others. Communists. Capitalists. All the parties are represented."


According to Ami Ayalon, the newly appointed head of Israel's Shin Bet internal security force, the Ramallah Men's Training Center offers a good example of how suicide bombers are recruited.


At the school Tuesday, students said they were stunned to learn that Shaghnoubi had blown himself up Sunday. He was a normal, unexceptional student, they said, and nothing had led them to expect such an outcome.