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February 07, 2008 - Image 22

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2008-02-07

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A22

February 7 • 2008

he first Palestinian suicide
bombing in more than a year
has provided Israelis with a
stark reminder of the security risks
overshadowing recent peace efforts.
Two Palestinians wearing explosive
belts walked into the southern town of
Dimona early Monday, mingling with
shoppers in a mall. The first terrorist
detonated his bomb, killing an Israeli
woman and wounding nine.
The attack prompted a major secu-
rity alert at a nearby nuclear reactor.
Among those floored by the blast
was the second terrorist. Medics who
stripped him to administer treatment
saw the bomb, and a police narcotics
agent passing by shot him dead.
"It was like a war zone said vendor
Haim Mor-Yosef. "I heard a blast and
immediately knew it was a terrorist
attack because of the body pane
Al-Aksa Brigades, an armed wing
of Palestinian Authority President
Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction,
claimed responsibility for the attack.
Other terrorist groups such as Hamas
and Islamic Jihad issued statements
of praise for an action they described
as revenge for Israel's blockade of the
Gaza Strip and military raids in the
West Bank.
Fatah denied involvement, while
Abbas, who has been strongly praised
by President Bush, issued a statement
of tepid censure.
"The Palestinian Authority express-
es its full condemnation of the Israeli
military operation in Kabatiya early
this morning, just as it condemns the
operation that took place today in
Dimona," he said, adding a call for an
end to "all operations that target civil-
ians, whether they are Palestinians or
Israelis!'
The "civilians" referred to in
Kabatiya, a West Bank village, were
two Islamic Jihad gunmen killed by
Israeli commandos.
Israel responded angrily to the
equivocation by Abbas. At least one
Cabinet member, Industry and Trade

Minister Eli Yishai of the Sephardic
fervently Orthodox Shas party, called
for the end of peace talks with Abbas
that were revived last November and
for Israel to redouble its crackdown on
the Palestinians.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert,
in remarks to his Kadima party fac-
tion, said, "There is a war on between
us and the terrorists, and it is being
waged without let-up."
Referring to an Israeli airstrike that
killed a Palestinian terrorist rocket
chief in the Gaza Strip a few hours
after the Dimona bombing, he said,
"The security forces managed to
eliminate a head of one of the terror
groups. We have had many such suc-
cess in recent days and weeks, though
of course this cannot be detailed in
public."
Jerusalem sources expected no
change of diplomatic direction. An
official government statement avoided
dramatic pronouncements on policy.
"Plain and simple: The terrorists'
goal is to kill as many Israeli civilians
as they can, wherever and whenever
they can — in their homes, schools
and shopping centers;' the Israeli
Foreign Ministry said. "Israel will
continue to fight this murderous ter-
rorism and will act in keeping with its
right, and its duty, to protect the lives
of its citizens." Israel's immediate con-
cern was determining from where the
bombers came.
Dimona is 20 miles from the West
Bank, but also 40 miles from the
Egyptian border. Israeli officials have
been warning that Palestinians who
streamed out of the Gaza Strip after
llamas recently blew up the border
fence with Egypt would end up infil-
trating the Jewish state.
Egypt has since begun sealing its
border with Gaza — known in Israel
as the Philadelphi Corridor.
After a suicide bombing on Jan.
29, 2007, killed three Israelis in Eilat,
Israeli officials vowed to erect a fence
along the Egyptian border, which is
little more than a line in the sand. A
year later, no such project has been
undertaken, though Israeli Defense
Minister Ehud Barak has pledged to
find the funds.



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