Fatah and Hamas claim ''Ariel'' bombing attack, Israel kills at least three Palestinians in West Bank
An explosion took place Sunday morning at a gas station in the West Bank settlement of Ariel. The cause of the blast was a suicide bombing attack claimed by Fatah's Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Hamas. Palestinian sources identified the bomber as Muhammad Shkeir, 19, a resident of Nablus.
At least three Israelis were reported killed. Some 20 were injured, 3 of them seriously. According to Haaretz, all of the fatalities were Israeli army reservists, and at least one was an officer.
An Israeli police commander said the bomber apparently stood among a group of Israelis, including soldiers at a gas station near the entrance to Ariel. A woman shouted at a group of soldiers that she suspected a suicide bomber was among them, and a soldier opened fire, "then the bomber blew up," Army Radio reported.
Ariel, in the Nablus area, is one of the largest Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
"Once again, the vicious agenda of Palestinian terrorists has taken its toll," said David Baker, an official in Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office. "Like spectators, the Palestinian Authority stands by and does nothing while
Palestinian terrorists continue to wage a campaign of terror against Israeli civilians."
Meanwhile, Israeli undercover forces shot dead two Palestinian activists on Sunday in the West Bank city of Nablus, witnesses said, according to Reuters.
Palestinian officials described the shooting as an assassination. The Israeli army said its forces had tried to detain the activists, who then opened fire. "The soldiers returned fire and in the exchange, two gunmen were killed and one was wounded," an army spokesman said. "One soldier was wounded." However, Israeli media reports said three Palestinians killed, two of them Fatah activists and one Islamic Jihad member.
Palestinian witnesses said Israeli plainclothes forces driving a car with Palestinian licence plates shot and killed the two men. Local medical officials said three people, including a child, were wounded.
Fatah's al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades said the men killed in the incident belonged to the group.
Also Sunday, a 15-year-old boy was shot dead in Jenin. Fuad Abu Rali was killed by Israeli fire in an eastern neighborhood of Jenin. Two others were wounded by the gunfire. (Albawaba.com)
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