Hamas, Fatah Claim Responsibility for Tank Attack; Three Israeli Soldiers Killed
Three Israeli soldiers were killed and one was wounded when a bomb exploded Thursday night alongside a tank in Gaza Strip. According to Israeli media reports, the tank was dispatched to the Gaza Strip area after an earlier blast.
Israeli military sources said armed Palestinians attacked a convoy of civilian vehicles and an Israeli army tank with gunfire and roadside bombs near a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip.
The attack took place on a road between the Netzarim settlement and the Karni Crossing which links the Gaza Strip and Israel. The convoy included cars and a bus, the spokesman said.
"A roadside bomb was detonated and shots were fired toward the bus. We returned fire," he was quoted as saying by Reuters. "Emergency vehicles came to the area, including a tank which possibly rolled over a large explosive device."
Reuters reported that a group including the military wings of Hamas and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction claimed responsibility for the attack.
A statement by the Salahadin Brigade, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees group, said the attack was in response to Israel's killing on Wednesday of five Palestinian policemen during a raid in the Gaza Strip.
In a separate statement, Palestinian Resistance movement Hamas' military wing vowed to continue attacks, including firing missiles, against Israeli targets everywhere.
"Our operations and missiles will continue to pour its fire on the heads of the Zionist enemy everywhere on the land of Palestine and no one will have a way to stop these missiles."
It also urged the Palestinian Authority on Thursday to free top bomb maker Adnan al-Ghoul.
Earlier, Palestinian Legislative Council Speaker Ahmed Qurei said he would not meet further with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as long as Israel is considering a replacement to Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.
Following a meeting on Thursday with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, Qurei expressed hope the US would join European countries and support the agreements he reached with Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres.
Straw called upon Palestinian President Yasser Arafat on Wednesday to put an end to the violence so talks can be resumed, saying the terror Israel is suffering is "almost impossible to imagine." (Albawaba.com)
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