Monday, March 17, 2008

Terrorists Attack Mercaz HaRav Kook Yeshiva

This post is post-dated; please scroll down for newer posts.

(updated 3/17/08 12:02 pm)
From their website:

Fundraiser for a Memorial Book in Memory of the Victims of the Merkaz Harav Attack

Please note this project is a private project being done by students in memory of the students that fell victim during the attack. This is not organized by the yeshiva. Read on for more information. To donate to the yeshiva, follow this link.

After the horrible terrorist attack which targeted Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva, a house of religious study known as the ‘Universal Yeshiva’ for it’s universal love, we have decided to start a major fundraiser inspired by the words of the founder of the yeshiva, Rav Avraham Itshak HaKohen Kook:
"-The purely righteous do not complain about evil, rather they add justice.
They do not complain about heresy, rather they add faith.
They do not complain about ignorance, rather they add wisdom. "
Arpilei Tohar p. 39
Guided by this principle, we will respond to the attack with the loving message of the yeshiva, by spreading its message through the publishing of a memorial book. This book, which will be entitled ‘United’, will include words of wisdom from some of the most prominent rabbis in the world on the subject of Unity. It will also include a memorial dedicated to each of the holy victims. The books will be distributed widely as a memorial for the victims and used as a fundraising tool in their memory. Through this publishing, we hope the memory of these 8 holy boys will be preserved. We also hope every one who will learn from this book will add to the merit of those holy ones who were murdered.

For more information, go to the site


After the horrific massacre at Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav the Jewish world will
stand united on Thursday, March 20th, which is the Fast of Esther:

We will say in a loud and unified voice:

Our Blood will no longer flow like water!
Our Religion will no longer be violated!
Our Land will no longer be divided!

Each Rally can also connect live to the rally in font of the Israeli Embassy
in Washington DC. The Rally in DC will be led by leader of the Jewish Activist
Network, Joe Orlow.
The call in Number is 718.313.0245 the login pin 102550

The Rallies will be held at Israeli Consulates all over the US.
Time: 12:30pm (Eastern Time)
  • Atlanta - Address: 1100 Spring St. N.W. Suite 440 Atlanta, Georgia 30309
  • Boston - Address: 20 Park Plaza, Suite 1020, Boston, MA 02116
  • Chicago -Address:111 East Wacker Drive, Suite 1308
  • Houston - Adress: 24 Greenway Plaza, Suite 1500 Houston, Texas 77046
  • Los Angeles - Address: 6380 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 1700 Los Angeles, CA 90048
  • Miami - Address: 100 North Biscayne (Yitzhak Rabin) Boulevard, Suite 1800
  • New York - Address: 800 Second Avenue, 13th Floor, New York, NY 10017 (March to the Isaiah Wall by UN)
  • San Francisco - Address: 456 Montgomery Street #2100 - San Francisco, CA 94104
  • Washington DC, Embassy Address: 3514 International Dr. N.W. Washington DC 20008
It is up to the members of each community to organize themselves and get theappropriate permits if necessary

Supporting Organizations: Jewish Activist Network, Amcha and Bnai Elim
From Lazer Beams:
Doron: Story of a True Tzaddik

Doron Doron Mahareta (left) of blessed and saintly memory HY"D was one of the eight Yeshiva students that were massacred last week in Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav in Jerusalem.

Last night, I paid a shiva (condolence) call to Doron's family. Every single type of Jew was sitting together, from Ethiopians to Polish Chassidim, from knit kippot to Yerushalmi white kippot, from jeans and sandals to long black frocks. Too bad that it takes a martyr of Doron's magnitude to unite everyone.

One of the rabbis from Mercaz HaRav told me the most amazing story you'll ever hear about Doron's dedication to learning Torah, a story that competes with the Gemara's account of Hillel's near freezing on the roof of Shmaya and Avtalion's Yeshiva (see tractate Yoma, 35b).
Continue reading.
Somehow I missed this: Gotcha! Israel nails seminary butcher
The Israel Defense Forces today killed the man suspected of planning last week's Jerusalem shooting massacre in which eight yeshiva students were murdered, security sources said.

Just hours after the terrorist shooting, a WND report exclusively identified the planner of the attack, quoting senior Israeli and Palestinian security officials stating Muhammad Shehadi, an activist in Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah organization, set up the massacre from the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

Today, IDF forces raided Bethlehem on a hunt for Shehadi. They killed the Fatah official along with three other gunmen, including Ahmed Dalbul, a Bethlehem-area leader of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah's declared military wing.

Read the whole thing.
[Hat tip: Eye on the World]

Reuters and Yahoo try to compare mourners for murdered Yeshiva students with Palestinians mourning for terrorists. Hat tip: Soccer Dad
From Dixie Yid:
I have posted an embeded player and a link to downloading this brief shiur by Rav Avraham Schorr, son of Rav Gedalia Schorr and compiler of Ohr Gedaliyahu, which he gave right after the Merkaz Harav attack. It puts everything in perspective for us and to me and shows, by example, how a real Jew with a heart feels when something happens to the Jewish people.
Check it out.

Updated: BBC Fabricates Home Demolition Report

pdated: March 12, 2008

On Friday, March 7, 2008, the BBC’s World News with Jonathan Charles (seen in the U.S. on PBS stations as part of BBC America) aired footage purporting to show the demolition and burning of a house that belongs to the family of Ala Abu Dheim, the terrorist who murdered eight students and wounded nine others in the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva (Rabbinical Seminary) .

Read the whole thing.

From Arutz Sheva
Only on a Jerusalem Bus: Remembering the 8 Slain Students

by Hillel Fendel

( The terrorist slaughter in Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav, in which eight budding Torah scholars were gunned down by an Arab terrorist, is constantly in the air. A staffer from the Jerusalem-based Nefesh B'Nefesh organization related the following:

"Every morning I take the 35 bus line to work. It's a quick ride and usually takes no more than 12 minutes. The third stop after I get on by the shuk [Machaneh Yehuda outdoor market] is directly in front of Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav. This morning, I found myself a bit anxious, unsure of what I was going to see as we passed by. As I looked around, I saw death notices pasted all over the street, and flowers that had been brought lined the entrance to the Yeshiva. When the bus pulled up to the stop, the driver shut off the engine and stood. With tears in his eyes, he told everyone on the bus that one of the boys killed on Thursday night was his nephew. He asked if we would mind if he spoke for a few minutes in memory of his nephew and the other boys who were killed. After seeing head nods all over the bus he began to speak.
Continue reading
By way of Boker Tov, Boulder
I am sending you this link to a recording of the emergency call in Jerusalem March 7th, reporting the massacre at the the Merkaz HaRav yeshiva. The video shows very graphic and deeply disturbing images, but I hope you will join me in bearing witness to our loss.
This is a war on our children. If ever there was a truth that needed to be spoken "to power," this is it. We must exercise our voice in this democracy, and demand that the United States immediately stop direct funding to the Palestinian Authority.
I hope you will join me in forwarding this message to the media and to our representatives in Congress.

The United States pledged $555 million to the PA in Paris in December. $218 million has already been appropriated and another $150 million is in the pipeline right now.

The Talmud teaches us that "One who shows compassion on the cruel, will ultimately show cruelty on the compassionate." No one wants to be cruel to innocent Palestinians, but our country simply cannot oppose terrorism on the one hand and simultanously fund it with the other.

When fighting the Nazis, we did not send massive aid to the good Germans. This is war, and we will never win it by helping the very enemies who slaughter our children in cold blood.

My son is alive, in Jerusalem, learning in a yeshiva. With Gd's help, and your help, may he continue to live in safety. Amen.
From an email:
Memorial for Victims of the Mercaz HaRav Massacre-3/12

Wednesday March 12th, 2008
8:00 pm.

Young Israel of Flatbush
1012 Avenue I
Brooklyn, NY 11230

(Q Train to Ave J is closest subway; cross street on Avenue I is Coney
Island Avenue)

Rabbi Kenneth Auman, Rabbi, Young Israel of Flatbush Rabbi Dovid
Goldwasser, Rabbi, Khal Bais Yitzchok Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb,
Executive Vice President of the Orthodox Union

Kel Malei Rachamim and Tehilim will be said.

For more information, call the shul at 718.377.4400, or the OU at

For those of you outside the tri-state area or unable to attend, as
per Rabbi Weinreb’s request, we encourage you to gather this Wednesday
evening in your community to remember the victims and recite Tehillim.

Read American Thinker's Deconstructing Anti-Israel Bias: The Jerusalem Yeshiva Massacre.
Hat tip: Smooth Stone
Israel's Peace Partners Honor Murderer
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's official daily newspaper has honored the terrorist who gunned down eight high school students at point blank range with the status of shahid, or holy Islamic martyr.

The March 8th edition of the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida prominently placed a picture of the terrorist on the front page, with the caption, "The Shahid Alaa Abu Dheim." In a page one article on the massacre at the Mercaz HaRav Kook Yeshiva, his crime was again defined as an act of martyrdom.
The article makes the argument that this latest advocacy of terrorism by the PA should--by law--cut off all US aid:
Besides its effect in inciting and encouraging terror, the honoring of terrorists by the PA has significant financial ramifications, PMW explained. Last week the US Administration sent a request to Congress to allocate $150 million to the Palestinian Authority. However, in response to earlier PMW reports on the widespread PA practice of honoring terror, Congress made it illegal for the US to give money to entities that "advocate" terror, as follows:
"[The Secretary of State] shall terminate assistance to any individual, entity... which she has determined to be involved in or advocating terrorist activity." Congress further legislated that "none of the [U.S.] ... assistance under the West Bank and Gaza Program may be made available for the purpose of recognizing or otherwise honoring individuals who commit, or have committed acts of terrorism" (2008 Foreign Operations Bill).
PMW stated Sunday: "Since a society's honoring of terrorists is one of the greatest terror promotions, and as the budget for the PA newspaper comes from the PA's general budget, the incessant honoring of this and all recent terrorists by Abbas's PA as Holy Islamic Shahids should render the Palestinian Authority ineligible to receive any American money under the terms of US law.
The catch of course is the phrase "which she has determined":can we expect Secretary of State Rice to do the right--and legal--thing?

This is not the first time terrorists have been honored by the PA. From August 2007:

A school in the West Bank town of Tulkarm this week organized a soccer tournament named after Ziyad Da'as, a Fatah terrorist, Palestinian Media Watch reported on Thursday.

Da'as planned a 2002 attack in Hadera in which a gunman opened fire with an M-16 rifle at a bat mitzva, killing six and wounding 30.

He was also behind the kidnapping and murder of two Israelis in Tulkarm in 2001.

Da'as was killed in an IDF operation in August 2002.

Reporting on the tournament, Al Hayat hailed Da'as as "one of the brave people of the Palestinian resistance, whom the Israeli occupation forces assassinated in cold blood."

With peace partners like these...


(Israellycool is still covering the aftermath of the massacre)

The mandatory Palestinian celebration at the murder of High School Students:

From Soccer Dad, from his brother:
What Can I Do?

I am certain you are wondering how you can properly memorialize the victims of the Mercaz Harav terror attack. Yonadav Hirshfeld [see obituary] - Yedidya's roommate - was a grandson of Rabbi and Mrs. Aharon Batt. In addition to being involved in the Encyclopedia Talmudit, Rabbi Batt is one of the main sponsors of the Halacha/Mishna/Rambam Yomi calendar available in the Torah Tidbits and other places.

One of the aspects of Yonadav which his father mentioned is that he was always getting in an extra few minutes of learning.

In light of all this, a proper memorial for him and the other victims is to resolve to (Bli Neder - of course) add 5 minutes a day of Torah learning - in any of those few times during the day in which we find ourselves doing nothing.

Memorial Protest for Victims of Terrorist Attack March 9th 11 AM
Atlas Shrugs has photos of the rally--and a video:

If you need help contacting one-year students in Israel click here

Muqata relays:
Please say tehillim immediately for my nephew, יהונתן בן אביטל who was wounded tonight in the terror attack. He's going into emergency surgery now.
And check out his post too.

(Israellycool is covering the story--scroll down)
(Mere Rhetoric is also liveblogging)
(Elder of Ziyon has the Arab reaction)

This is not the first massacre of a Yeshiva.
Jacob Richman has photos of the murdered students and of the funeral.
Haaretz has short obituaries of the murdered students
Now it appears that not only was the massacre planned in advance--it was coordinated between Hamas in Syria with Hizbollah.
It turns out that the Palestinian terrorist who carried out the massacre was not some emotionally distraught fellow who could not deal with Israel's reaction to having her citizens attacked. To the contrary:
Jerusalem District Police Chief Aharon Franco confirmed on Saturday that investigators have arrested eight people suspected of involvement in Thursday's terror attack at the Mercaz Harav rabbinical seminary in Jerusalem.

Franco said the attack had been planned even prior to the IDF's operation in Gaza, adding that the shooter had apparently scoped out the seminary for some time before the attack
Israellycool explains why it is unlikely the attack is a response to Operation Warm Winter, just as Mere Rhetoric wrote (see below) about why it is unlikely it was a reaction to the assassination of the Hizbollah bigwig:
It was not a response to "Operation Warm Winter." These sorts of attacks take weeks and often months to plan; according to Ma'an the group that took responsibility claimed that they prepared the attack in "only" 10 days.
Read the whole post about what this attack "was not"
No group takes responsibility yet, but the identity of the terrorist is known:
The family of Alaa Abu Dheim, a 25-year-old from east Jerusalem, said he had carried out the attack on the seminary, a prestigious center of Jewish studies identified with the leadership of the Jewish settlement movement in the West Bank.

...Abu Dheim's family set up a mourning tent outside their home and hung green Hamas flags along with one yellow flag of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. Family members said several relatives had already been taken for questioning by Israeli police.

Israeli defense officials said the gunman came from Jabel Mukaber in east Jerusalem, where Palestinian residents hold ID cards giving them freedom of movement in Israel, unlike Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

Left unsaid is what kind of religious fervor leads one to kill unarmed high school students.

Esser Agaroth has the list of students murdered by the Palestinian terrorist, and students who need your tefilot:
Doron Mehereta, 26, of Ashdod

Yonadav Haim Hirschfeld
, 19, of Kochav HaShachar (a community in the Binyamin region of Samaria)

Ro'i Rote
, 18, of Elkanah (a community in Samaria)

Yochai Lipshitz
, 18, of the Old City of Jerusalem

Yonatan Yitzchak Eldar
, 16, of Shilo (a community in Samaria)

Neriah Cohen
, 15, of Jerusalem

Segev Pniel Avichayil, 15, of N'vei Daniel in Gush Etzion

Avraham David Moses
, 16, of Efrat, Gush Etzion

Doron, Yonadav and Ro'i were students in Merkaz HaRav; the others were students in the LeTze'irim Yeshiva High School of Merkaz HaRav in the adjacent building.

Seven of the ten wounded students remain hospitalized. The public is asked to pray for the recovery of:
  • Naftali ben [son of] Gila from Sderot

  • Yonatan ben Avital

  • Shimon ben Tirza

  • Nadav ben Hadas

  • Reuven ben Naom

  • Elchanan ben Zehava.
Sultan Knish has pictures from inside the Yeshiva--and a description:
Yehuda Meshi Zahav, head of the Zaka rescue service, entered the library after the attack.

"The whole building looked like a slaughterhouse," he told the Associated Press news agency. "The floor was covered in blood. The students were in class at the time of the attack.

"The floors are littered with holy books covered in blood."

Students are reported to have jumped out of the building as the gunman opened fire.
Cosmic X writes:
I thought to myself about the dead. Young men at the prime of their lives, who had been sitting learning Torah, when animals disguised as humans cut their lives short. I thought about the wounded, some of whom may never really heal from this attack. I thought about the mourning notices that will be pasted up all over the city tomorrow, each one with a list of the grieving families. May the sick be healed and may the mourners be comforted with the building of Jerusalem.
From The Torat Imecha Chabura

Thoughts after the terror attack - Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav

by David Wilder
29 Adar 5768, 3/6/2008

I was sitting in my office tonight, meeting with the director of Mattot-Arim, activist Susie Dym, when the beeper started beeping. I read it, wiped my eyes, and read it again: 20:42 - (8:42 PM) - Magen David Adom Jerusalem reports shooting inside Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav in Jerusalem. Details to follow. The beepers kept streaming, each one bringing terrible news. Shooting for somewhere in the vicinity of ten minutes, the terrorist killed eight students and wounded at least another eleven, three of whom are in critical condition.

Listening now to the radio, the Yeshiva's director, Rabbi Sasson, spoke of how the yeshiva students all participated in a mass prayer gathering at the Kotel, the Western Wall, earlier today. This evening they were preparing Rosh Hodesh (New Month) festivities, celebrating the beginning of the new month of Adar and the upcoming Purim holiday. Only moments before the beginning of the dancing, the Rabbi said that he heard shooting in the building and immediately realized that a terrorist had infiltrated the yeshiva.

Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav is the spiritual center of Religious Zionism, founded by Israel's first Chief Rabbi, Rav Avraham Yitzhak HaKohen Kook. His son, Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook led the movement of the Jewish people back to Yesha following the 1967 Six Day War. The Yeshiva's dean, Rabbi Avraham Shapira, died a few months ago, and his son, Rabbi Ya'akov Shapira replaced him.

I worked at Mercaz HaRav some 15 years ago for about a year. The Yeshiva has a very unique atmosphere, very spiritual, and very Torah-oriented. Many many students fill the huge study hall, day and night, 24 hours a day. Many of the students are IDF officers, serving in elite units. The yeshiva's students are amongst the most patriotic Jews in Israel, serving their country, their land, their people, their G-d, in body and in spirit. Many of Israel's most important spiritual leaders are graduates of Mercaz HaRav.

It is very sad to see the pictures, to hear the voices, to feel the pain of young Torah scholars, studying Torah, celebrating the joy of the month of Adar, cut down by a terrorist's bullets, for no reason other than that they are Jews.

Earlier today I spent a couple of hours with journalists from Finland, questioning me about our presence in Hebron and in Judea and Samaria. I stressed to them that the enemy we are facing are nothing more than wild animals; only animal can perpetrate such horror attacks. Tonight another one of these animals escaped from his cage and, let loose in civilization, attacked, as does a wild lion or tiger.

I continue hearing on the radio reports how the police and security are continuing to prepare for tomorrow's "Friday prayer on Temple Mount" referring of course, to Arab, Islamic prayer. I do not understand why the Israeli authorities are going to allow these prayers to take place, especially taking into account that according to the latest reports, the terrorist who perpetrated the murder tonight is a resident of Jabal MuKaber, a neighborhood in east Jerusalem. The first thing that should have been announced tonight is that those prayers, on Temple Mount, are canceled. The second announcement should be that any and all 'peace talks' with the Arabs are suspended until further notice.

Third, the Knesset should meet in special session and pass a law which will allow immediate suspension of Knesset members who incite the enemy and who celebrate such murderous attacks as we've witnessed tonight.

Now we cry together with the yeshiva, with the families of the victims, with Klal Yisrael, But crying is not enough. Israel cannot allow such terror in our eternal capital to be ignored. The enemy must be punished.

The Jewish Community of Hebron
P.O.B. 105 Kiryat Arba-Hebron 90100
Tel: 972-9965-333 -
The Hebron Fund -
Tour Hebron: Tel 972-52-431-7055 or
Help Hebron:

Reaction from Condoleezza Rice:
"The United States condemns tonight's act of terror and depravity," Rice said in a statement. "This barbarous act has no place among civilized peoples and shocks the conscience of all peace loving nations. There is no cause that could ever justify this action."
But this is just the usual perfunctory boilerplate.


Read Allison Kaplan Sommer's A Bloody Night in Jerusalem. She notes:
Initial reports on Israeli television if true, explain why it was so easy for him to gain access and harder for security forces to intercept him – according to early reports, the gunman was a resident of East Jerusalem carrying Israeli identification – with no need to penetrate the border.
BBC Report [Hat tip: Israel Matzav]


Yahoo is guessing that Hizbollah may be behind the attack:
...Security services have been on alert for the past three weeks since Israel was blamed by Hezbollah for the assassination in Baghdad of one of its top commanders.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah declared "open war" on Israel in a fiery speech at the funeral in Beirut of Imad Mughnieh.

Israel has denied any involvement in the assassination, but Nasrallah said that by killing Mughnieh, it had taken its battle with Hezbollah beyond Lebanon's borders and should therefore expect attacks anywhere.

Mughnieh, who was killed on February 12, was wanted for his suspected involvement in a string of anti-Jewish attacks. They including the 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, which killed 29 people, and the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community centre there that killed 85.

US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack described the threat as alarming, saying: "Hezbollah has a long record of carrying out violent acts, acts of terrorism around the globe."

At the time, the Haaretz newspaper quoted security sources as saying they expected Hezbollah to do something in the "immediate future" followed by a "showcase attack" in the medium term that would require greater planning and effort.

It said there could be a suicide bombing by Palestinians through groups funded by Hezbollah or attempts to kidnap Israelis abroad.

In the long run, it said the concern was that Hezbollah would target "high-value targets, such as embassies, a delegation travelling abroad or an aircraft."
Along those lines, from Israellycool

10:22PM: A palestinian source has told Ynet that the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades (belonging to Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah) carried out the attack.

10:25PM: Hezbollah TV is claiming it was the “Mughniyah Brigades” of an Israeli Arab group.

10:37PM: I just saw on Channel 2 that the terrorist held a blue identity card. In other words, he was an Israeli (Arab) citizen. Which could lend credence to the Hezbollah TV claim above (10:25PM update).

Mere Rhetoric on why it is unlikely that this is from Hizbollah:
But this doesn't have a Hezbollah feel. When they retaliate for Mugniyah it's going to be against a high-ranking politician, a large international Jewish target, or a hardened military target. It's not going to be a dining hall filled with kids. Hezbollah is just as thoroughly genocidal and evil as the dozens of Palestinian terrorist groups who want to wipe out all the Jews in Israel - the differences between the two lie in the objective military capability of the former versus the seething impotent lashing out so characteristic of the latter. If a religious school was the hardest target Hezbollah could hit then they'd certainly do it - but it's unfortunately not.
Arlene Kushner on who is taking credit:
The "Galilee Freedom Brigades" – an Israeli-Arab group - has claimed responsibility for the attack; there were early reports that it is associated with Hezbollah but this is altogether unclear as I write. It is believed that the terrorist was a resident of the Jabal el-Mukaber neighborhood of Jerusalem and thus had an ID card which permitted him free access to all parts of the city; there was apparently no need for infiltration from outside. The implications here are vast. Arabs in eastern Jerusalem have, in the last few days, been incited to enormous unrest because of Gaza.

From The Jerusalem Post:
Two Palestinian terrorists entered the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Kiryat Moshe on Thursday night and opened fire at students inside.

Eyewitnesses said that they saw four people dead, Channel 1 reported.

Magen David Adom has confirmed casualties but the number of wounded was unknown. MDA has confirmed that one of the terrorists was killed.

MDA described the incident as a "multi-casualty incident."

Police were closing off the area.
Another article from The Jerusalem Post:
...Witnesses said that only one terrorist had entered the building and that he managed to fire 500-600 bullets over the course of 10 minutes before he was killed.

From Haaretz:
At least seven people were killed and seven others were wounded Thursday evening when terrorists infiltrated the Merkaz Harav yeshiva in the Kiryat Moshe neighborhood in Jerusalem, a senior police official said.

Three of the injured were listed as being in very serious condition and taken to Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Karem, while the other four were taken to Sha'arei Tzedek Medical Center in the capital. MDA declared the incident a "multiple casualty event."


Ynet News:
...In Gaza City, residents went out into the streets and fired rifles in celebration in the air after hearing news of the attack on the seminary.

There were no attacks by Palestinian terrorists in Jerusalem during 2007, though police and the military claimed to have foiled many attempts. Between 2001 and 2004 Jerusalem was a frequent target of Palestinian attacks, including suicide bombings on buses. [emphasis added]


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