Suicide bombing attack in Petah Tikva: two Israelis killed; Arafat condemns killings of civilians
A Palestinian bomber blew himself up Monday afternoon close to a commercial center in Petah Tikva, near Tel Aviv. The explosion took place at about 18:45 (GMT 15:45).
At least two Israelis - an elderly woman and an 18-month-old toddler - were killed and dozens of people were injured.
Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade claimed responsibility for this attack.
Just before the bombing attack, Israeli soldiers left the town of Qalqiliya, a city just east of Tel Aviv.
Earlier Monday, Israel's Defense Minister, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer warned that there are daily attempts by Palestinians to send suicide attackers into Israel, but most of them are foiled by Israeli forces.
Dore Gold, an adviser to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, denounced the "continuing terrorist attacks" against Israeli civilians.
"This is intolerable and something Israel will have to address," Gold said.
For his part, Israel's Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said, "We have to do whatever possible to beat these things, by military means and also by political means."
David Baker, an official in the Israeli Prime Minister's office, said, "Palestinian terror continues to strike out at Israeli woman and children." He said Israel would use "all the resources at its disposal" to stop
Israel Internal Security Minister Uzi Landau accused Yasser Arafat of responsibility for the bombing. "What we see today is simply an ongoing practice, instigated by the Palestinian Authority led by Arafat, to go out and make our civilians, women and children, deliberate targets," he told reporters at the scene.
For his part, senior Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat said Arafat condemned any killings of Israeli and Palestinian civilians.
"We cannot accept Israeli blame on us for everything that causes such actions," he told CNN. "We saw the Israeli army entering today into (the West Bank towns of) Bethlehem and Qalqilya. It cannot be business as usual." (Albawaba.com)
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