TAMPA, Fla. May 15, 2005 — The parents of an American student who was killed in a bus bombing in Israel are looking for justice half a world away in Tampa, where a former computer science professor and three others are going on trial on charges they helped fund the terrorist group that carried out the bombing. Jury selection begins Monday.
Ten years ago, American student Alisa Flatow boarded a bus headed to a Gaza Strip beach resort for a much needed break from her studies.
At the Israeli settlement of Kfar Darom, a young man sat in a van loaded with explosives. As the bus approached, he steered his rolling bomb at it with ferocious speed and slammed into the bus’ side.
Eight people seven Israelis and Flatow died in the April 9, 1995 terrorist attack.
Sami Al-Arian, a University of South Florida professor and nationally known Palestinian rights activist, was already secretly under investigation by FBI foreign intelligence agents at the time of the bombing.
Al-Arian had established an Islamic academic think tank, a school, a mosque and a charity for Palestinian children but authorities were questioning whether the true mission of Al-Arian’s work was to finance terrorist attacks in Israel.